Organizations irrespective of their structure, design, hierarchies and outlook have one thing in common, the interplay of dynamics of different natured individuals who constitute them, say Porfeli and Vondracek (2001). This statement reflects three keen interest areas – firstly that individual employees who make an organization are natured differently and have varied interests, goals and personal ambitions. Secondly there is an interplay of these individuals’ intents and goals with those of the others and thirdly and importantly that this interplay translates into a dynamic organizational culture and politics. Politics is power in action cite Culbert and McDonough (1985). There can be no politics without power whether personal or authoritative, and most often than not, people engage in politics at the workplace to achieve additional power of some kind. Thus, the essay has been compiled in agreement with the statement that political activity is alive and well in organizations today. Ployhart (2006) remarks that often organizational politics is concerned a taboo and management would refrain to accept it, let alone deal with it strategically, this is mostly on account of the fact that workplace politics rings a negative and a highly malignant connotation to it. Politics at work cannot be categorized as necessarily good or bad, but one thing that is certain is the fact that no one can escape it totally, even if not actively maneuvering political moves, argues Pfeffer (1992). Organizational politics refer to the use of power and personal intentions against others at the workplace, to gain an edge over the others (individuals or groups), remark Culbert and McDonough (1985). It could be limited to intentions and opinions; it can translate into actions and foul play and permeate conscious behavior. What makes most of us think that politics is unhealthy and malevolent is because it involves use of tactics and strategy that falls out of scope of one’s assigned or assumed job description and responsibility! Reasons leading to Politics at work
Political activities are not always visible or loud, they can be subtle and discrete (Russell, B. 2010). the reasons why politics exists in organizations make it easy to appreciate the same. The resources in the organization like in any economic ecosystem are limited, what one individual or group has is mostly at an opportunity cost of others, which in itself aggravates the differences and intentions and goals that are already there because no two individuals think the same. People working together have divergent views and interests. All this diversity is enough to create a cacophony but since an organization has a larger goal, above individual ambitions to achieve, social order must be attained. Linda (2007) writes that politics is nothing more but the quest to create this social order in any system or group. Withholding information, sharing partial knowledge, joining or abandoning a formal or an informal group are all pursuits of a political mind at work. Also most commonly seen reason for politics is unfulfilled ambitions or aspirations at work. Failure to get a desired role, a promotion or a transfer are the key reasons employees engage in conceitful activities often fueled with a sense of revolt or jealousy. Such kind of politics often leads to unhealthy practices such as protests, spreading rumors, criticizing and blaming others, backstabbing and unnecessary trail of complaints. Hackman and Oldham (2006) have studied more than twenty organizations across sectors empirically, and he cites that a critical reason promoting politics at work is the relationship of the leader with his team. The authors argue that many leaders unknowingly promote political behavior by favoring one subordinate over the other. Even in performance reviews and appraisal, there is a definite bias or favoritism that the team members can perceive which makes them feel cheated and resorts to their...
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