Organizational Power and Politics
Some employees believe that politics and power in the workplace is a game that corporate and management plays. However, games usually have rules to follow, a referee or judge, and an ending with a winner. Although politics has a winner, this game never ends, the rules are always subject to change, and there is no referee or spokesperson. Corporate traditions establish much of the biased game of politics that is played on the organizational level. Unfortunately, politics and power is a game that most employees in an organization must learn how to play.
One part of organizational politics includes the manipulations of an individual to get other employees to perform or act as the manipulator desires. The other part of the organizational politic game is the negotiation and cooperation with or resistance to the manipulator (Clarke, 1990). Politics can assist or harm an employee, depending on his or her decision to play the game. Employees must understand that politics is a power scheme game that is combined with other power scheme. Some things are accomplished by following organizational procedures, while other things are accomplished politically. Once employees recognize and accept that politics are everywhere and they do not place judgment on them, employees can begin to work with them to advance their career (Grimm, 2004).
Political behaviors are activities that are not required as part of an employees' formal role in the organization. These behaviors influence, or attempt to influence the distribution of advantages or disadvantages within the organization. Politics are a fact of life in all organizations. Politics will always be a part of an organization, as long as people are involved. Organizational politics decrease job satisfaction, increase turnover and reduce productivity in the workforce. Politics in the workforce can be anything from gender politics, discriminating against women having children, interaction between race and gender, to how a company treats their gay employees, to name a few. Disrespect for one's coworkers is a very common effect of power and politics in an organization (Power and Politics, 2006).
Organizational politics is something most people recognize when they see it in action, but find difficult to define. Organizational politics can be a very competitive game. The stakes are high, if employees succeed, they may be able to keep their job or get that desired promotion. However, if the employee loses, he or she may be pounding the payment and looking for a new job. When dealing with company politics employees should know the rules, cultivate a positive image, and keep employers perspective in mind (McKay, 2006).
Organizational politics can cause problems for individuals who work together, but the result can be far more devastating Employees and managers who must concentrate on the political aspects of work may have less time to pay attention to their jobs. The result will be a financial loss for the organization and will eventually lead to loss of jobs. Organizational politics allow some people to be rewarded for behavior unrelated to doing a good job. Political decisions encourage hypocrisy, secrecy, deal-making, rumors, self-interest, self-promotion, this is not a receipt for effective teamwork in the workplace (Graham, 2006).
Power is the ability to insist or resist a situation. If a manager can hire, fire, reward, or in any other way control someone's financial well-being or freedom, the manger can use power against the employee. Although this is an unethical behavior, it is part of the game. However, if the employee chooses to cooperate, the manager is acting as a leader by exercising persuasion rather than control or power (Opis Management, 2006). Power is forced cooperation and persuasion is non-forced. Leaders exercise both, manager's exercise only power. Suppose your boss tells you to complete an assignment on Tuesday, you could resist those instructions by not doing the assignment and risk getting fired. Do you think that would be having power over your boss or just not a bright employee?
Exercising free will is not the same has having power over your boss. As an employee you do not have the ability to change the ultimatum; complete the assignments given or get fired. The manager has the power to force cooperation on you or to fire you. Many of us hold old-fashioned assumptions about power and there are few new role models. The greatest power comes from collaboration from skillfully going inside our differences and working cooperatively toward building something better than we had at the start. The key here will be to use those forms of power that balance your approach, simultaneously create sustainable work relationships and the desired results, with the least amount of effort (Robin, 2004).
Managers these days continue to have human resource issues because they continue to exercise the power of position. Managers that manage their staff this way usually do not get the most out of their employees. Employees do not want to feel inferior towards their boss. They understand they are not exactly equal, since the boss is the boss. Employees want and need the same respect from their boss, as their boss wants from them.
Politics vs. Power
Politics are prevalent in the workplace. The inner workings of how an organization, such as a franchise, functions on a daily basis have to do with its politics. Unlike power, politics do not have to be played by everyone within an organization. Depending upon what position level an individual is in an organization
Power And Politics In Organisation Essay
Power and Politics in Organizations: Public
and Private Sector Comparisons
Wolfers Professor of Political Science and Management
School of Management
A chapter for the "Process of Organizational Learning" section of the Handbook of Organizational Learning, ed. Meinolf Dierkes, A. Berthoin Antal, J. Child & I. Nonaka. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
DRAFT: Please do not cite without author's permission.Power and Politics in Organizations: Public and Private Sector ComparisonsJoseph LaPalombaraYale UniversityPolitical Organizations and Their Milieu
Organizational learning derives most of its knowledge from research on organizations in the private sector, particularly from the study of the firm. Its rich interdisciplinary quality is reflected in the range of social sciences that have contributed to the field's robust development. The contribution from political science, however, has been minimal (reasons are suggested in the chapter on 'politics' by LaPalombara in this volume).
The mutual failure of political scientists to pay more systematic attention to organizational learning and of organizational learning specialists to extend their inquiries into the public/political sphere is unfortunate in at least three senses. First, a general theory of organizational learning is unlikely to emerge unless and until what is claimed to be known about this phenomenon is shown to be the case (or not) in the public/political sphere as well. Second, sufficient evidence in political science-even if not gathered with organizational learning as the central focus-shows that organizations in the public/political sector do differ in significant ways from those in the private sphere. And third, considerations of power and its exercise are so ubiquitous in public/political-sector organizations, indeed they are so central to an understanding of these bodies, that one wonders why such meager attention has been paid to this concept in the literature on organizational theory and organizational learning.
The present chapter is intended to show that the integration of political science into the field of organizational learning will be improved and that knowledge about organizational learning itself will be deepened if increased attention is focussed on two general questions: What characteristics of organizations in the public/political sector distinguish them from organizations in the private sector? And what are some of the implications of these differences for the overall field of organizational...
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