Power and Politics
Webster’s defines politics as follows: “political affairs or business; especially: competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership (as in a government), political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices; relations or conduct in a particular area of experience especially as seen or dealt with from a political point of view” (MWOD, 2009). Organizational theories show people engage in politics to get power, however in this writer’s organization politics and power are associated, but they are indeed separate ends. Power in organizations can be defined as “the ability to act or produce an effect b: legal or official authority, capacity, or right a: possession of control, authority, or influence over others” (MWOD, 2009).
Compare and Contrast
In organizations, power and politics come into play at all levels. Power and politics sometimes share similar bases. Power can be compared to politics in the way that they seek to increase the control and authority of those in power or engaged I politics (Grier, 2009). They are also similar as they share the same organizational goals. Those in power and those who engage in politics in an organization are trying to better the company; the conflict generally comes to differing visions and ideologies. In contrast, politics does not have the claim to legitimate authority that power does. Power implies that the individual or group has the authority vested in that position to wield the power while politics is more coercive. Further politics seek to erode or replace power, in this politics is either undermining the current authority or trying to replace it with whom it chooses. Power seeks to extend or retain.
Organization and Leadership
The politics and power structure of an organization can be shaped by the organizational structure and leadership of that organization. For organizations that are highly departmentalized and