Organisational Politics

Topics: Organization, Management, Politics Pages: 12 (3328 words) Published: December 7, 2008
“Politics is how interests and influence play out in an institution.” - Benjamin Franklin Organisation is a coalition of interest, so exists in the identification and solution of the problem. In the process of negotiation for consensus, politicking takes place. Therefore, the existence of power and politics is the inevitable phenomena in every organisation. In order to manage and to be managed in the organisation efficiently every individual starting from the top to bottom needs to have knowledge of power and politics in the organisation.

Organizational politics is an inescapable and intrinsic reality. Organizational politics is so intricately woven with management system that relationships, norms, processes, performance and outcomes are hugely influenced and affected by it.

Organizational politics defined

Organizational politics can be described as self serving and manipulative behavior of individuals and groups to promote their self interests at the expense of others, and some times even organizational goals as well. Organizational politics in a company manifests itself through struggle for resources, personal conflicts, competition for power and leadership and tactical influence executed by individuals and groups to attain power, building personal stature, controlling access to information, not revealing real intents, building coalitions etc.

Organisational politics is activities in which managers engage to increase their power and to pursue goals that favour their individual and group interests. Organisational politics involve those activities taken within organisations to acquire, develop and use power and other resources to obtain one’s preferred outcomes in a situation in which there is uncertainty or dissensus about choices. Employees working in the organisation can engage in political behavoiur to gain promotion or influence organisational decision-making in their favour. In fact, politics is the unauthorized uses of power which increases or protect ones own personal interest. Accordingly, Mayes and Allen are of the opinion that organisation politics is the management of influence to obtain ends not sanctioned by the organisation or to obtain ends through non sanctioned means. In fact, organisational politics is power in action.

Power and politics are very closely related with each other. Organisational politics is associated with resource allocation, conflict resolution, and decision making process in organisation. Politics is fact of life for almost every organisation. When employees in organisations convert their power into action, we describe them as being engaged in politics. Normally it is seen that individuals who have good political skills have the ability to use their bases of power effectively in the organisation. Individuals play politics to gain more power in organisation, to have command over resources, to have their more voice in decision-making and to fulfill their individual goals.

Organisational politics has two sides. Positive side of organisational politics is characterized by the balanced pursuit of individual and organisational goal, open problem solving and analyzing the situation in win-win terms. Negative side of organisational politics is characterized by viewing the situation in win-loose situation, having hidden agenda, pursue self interest etc. That is why some authorities have rightly said that “politics as a subset of power is of illegitimate in nature. Though political behaviour is outside one’s specified job requirements but individuals play politics to use one’s power bases and to be the part of the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within the organisation.

As politics is a fact of life in organisations , everyone has to play variety of politics but people who ignore this fact of life do so at their own peril. The political behaviour in organisations include many activities such as spreading rumours, leaking...
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