Organizational Politics

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The word politics is taken in a negative sense in most of the situations. Despite of this widely held belief, politics can be found everywhere right from home to the organization or the country level. Politics exists in every place where there are more than one person seeking same resources which are limited. Intentionally or unintentionally, everybody plays politics in one or the other way to serve their purpose and it proves to be helpful for someone while considered as “dirty” by others who are not benefitted by it. But probably it cannot be avoided as the politics comes in various forms and is present in every field of work in one or the other form. However, we are here to discuss about the politics present in the organizations in various levels and its affect on the work and people there. This presence of politics in the organization is called the organizational politics. According to Brandon and Seldman (2004), “Organizational politics are informal, unofficial, and sometimes behind-the-scenes efforts to sell ideas, influence an organization, increase power, or achieve other targeted objectives”. Extending the same note, Organizational politics refers to behaviours “that occur on an informal basis within an organization and involve intentional acts of influence that are designed to protect or enhance individuals’ professional careers when conflicting courses of action are possible” (Drory, 1993; Porter, Allen, & Angle, 1981).

Many studies have shown that organizational politics cannot be always considered to be a bad practice. In many cases, it proves to be beneficial for the organizations. Kotter, in his article “Power and influence”, says “Without political awareness and skill, we face the inevitable prospect of becoming immersed in bureaucratic infighting, parochial politics and destructive power struggles, which greatly retard organizational initiative, innovation, morale, and performance.” The concept is also supported by Randolph(1985) where he states that “Organizational Politics is not necessarily bad. It is another tool that employees and managers have for promoting goals that cannot be achieved in other ways”. Thus, in various articles, it has been stated that organizational politics is one of the major parts of business and it also has positive affects on the success of the organizations.

To understand the concept of organizational politics, I would like to share a very common example of organizational politics. An employee asking for a salary hike in general terms would not probably be considered as an organizational politics, but as we see generally in the construction companies or other government organizations where labour unions are present, major strikes take place when the workers stop working and go on strike to force the organization for a salary hike. This may be considered as a major example of organizational politics. This example is having a very broad and visible scope but there are many other ways in which politics take place in the organizations. Sometimes they are visible to everyone but in most cases, it is played like a strategy game and it becomes tough to know where politics is happening. Politics take place in the organizations in every level, right from the junior level of workers for impressing their seniors and climbing up the corporate ladder, to the highest level of employees where they play politics for power and status. Sometimes, when the politics reaches a very high level in the organizations, it affects the organization in an adverse way and can be harmful for the organization’s future.

Looking back to the article on “The Social Identity Theory”, I could relate the theory to the reasons behind the politics in the organizations. The social identity theory dealt with the human behaviours in different social gatherings. The strategies of organizational politics grow gradually in the employee’s behaviour. The way an experienced person joins the organization is very...
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