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Power and Politics

By | August 2005
Page 1 of 1
Power and Politics in the Workplace

In general, politics refers to the social and structural arrangements and priorities of public and civic life. It therefore encapsulates a whole range of issues relating to structures, policies, and values, in the spoken and unspoken form of communication. Politics of any organization form the norms and the expected behavior of any group or organization. There are many forms of power in the work place, legitimate, reward, and expert power to name a few. Power in the work place is the ability to determine the in-group and out-group. The in-group maybe people whom management of a given organization accepts. This fact usually gives this select group (in-group) favorable consideration over people who maybe considered the out-group. These favorable considerations are in the form of promotions, assignment, awards and the ability to work on special projects. For some, power falls into the company of words that carries negative connotation, along with influence, control and manipulation whereas all too often power is abused. Office politics and power can cause discord in organizations, and a "we and them" mentality. These attitudes may cause lost in productivity and open an organization up to civil litigation. One example of office politics and power are workers in an office environment that go to Happy Hour. Subordinates and supervisors attend these events. There are employees that will not attend; they may be single parent, married or some who may have no desire to associate with collogues outside the workplace. Their action places them in the out-group although the attendance or failure of attendance of the Happy Hour has no reflection on the proficiency of either worker. However, the relations built during the Happy Hour may leave a favorable perception in the mind of the management that has legitimate power and award powers.
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