Please define and explain Hedrick Smith’s three “games” as presented in The Power Game.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One of Smith's "games" is the access game.  This game has to do with efforts to get access to the people who really have the power.  This game is played by bureaucrats (who work hard to try to have access to leaders such as the president) and it is played by interest groups.  Interest groups play this game by giving campaign donations and such.  The point of this game is to get close to decision-makers so that you can influence them.

A second game is the "turf game."  This is a game in which people jealously guard "their" policy areas in an attempt to prevent anyone else from having authority in that area.  By protecting their turf, they are protecting their own importance.

Finally, there is the "image game."  This is a game in which players try to manipulate the way they are portrayed by the media.  A major point that Smith makes here is that the image game is extremely visual.  He points out that President Reagan's staff did not really care what the TV news people said about Reagan.  They provided visuals that made Reagan look good and they relied on the idea that the TV audience would really notice how Reagan looked and would not really process the bad things the media was saying about him.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial