What is politics
There is no organisation which is free from politics:Politics stands for the way the people use to gain use power in an organisation. There is close relationship between power and politics so much so that it is called as power politics. An employee is said to be indulged in politics when they convert their power into action. In the words of Mr. Farrel and Peterson, “Politics in an organisation refers to the activities that are not regarded as part of one’s formal role in the organisation, but that influence or attempt to influence the distribution of advantages and dis-advantages within the organisation.” Mr Tushman says “Politics refers to the struc-
ture and process of the use of authority and power to affect definition of goals, direction and the other major para-meters of the organisation. Decisions are not made in a rational way but rather through compromise, accommodation and bargaining.”
Thus, politics is endemic to every
organisation, regardless of size, function or character or ownership. It isomni-present at all levels of hierarchy and it gets intensified
as the stake becomes more important and the area of decsion possibilities greater. That is organisations are not just ‘rational systems in which managers logically choose and implement strategies. Instead, they are the areas of power in which individuals and groups struggle for power, prestige and possession. The features of organisational politics are:
1. It involves the use of authority, power, of pressure over others may be-groups or individuals-where rewards are awarded and punishments are petted.
2. It is self-serving in nature. That is possible at-tempts are made to use organisational resources for personal gains or granting of favours to others.
3. It is well-outside one’s specified job requirements.That is, it warrants getting the things attained or done that.are not formally recognised practices and procedures.
4. These decisions are not ‘rational’ but emotional.and are not in the interest of an organisation. Dr. P.F. Drucker the Management Guru rightly remarks every decisions.
(1) ideally, what you would like to do, and
(2) What you are actually able to do.
In case, the organisation wants to achieve more of the former, their strategic managers are to be become an expert at working within their organisation’s political environment. The objectives and strategies are chosen nd implemented through compromise, bargaining and negotiation in a political environment. Professors Charles W.H. Hill and
Gareth R. Jones have very ably compared the ‘rational and’political view of the decision-making in their title “STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT THEORY -An Integrated Approach.
The question is what makes the dirty politics to enter these organisations which an-designed for rational behaviour. The root cause of politics or political behaviour on the
part of organisational members is opposition. “No opposition no politics” is the rule of the game. This political behaviour is weapon or means to overcome organisational oppo-
sition or resistence. Experts bring to the surface the following points that encourage political behaviour.
1. Blurred Goals: In case the organisational goals are not clear and simple, that leads to opposition and the antidote of opposition is politics. The clarity of goals, does not permit any scope for disrespect or opposition and there is no chance of politics entering the organisation.
2. Greed for Power: In an organisation of any kind,power and politics are close friends made for each other. If.one is the god another is religion. Getting power by normal means is not possible-that takes good deal of time. People believe is speed-because it is super-sonic age. It is political influence that gets anyone power to influence others to claim their superiority. Therefore, greed for power tempts one to be political motivated.
3. Exclusive Authority: There are some positions or.posts in an organisation having exclusive discretionary powers that can be used in emergency situations. The person who has this exclusive power has his own judgement for its use or misuse. Powers are given for use than misuse’
However, it is the misuse of power that has deep impact an others which makes the people harkering after power to get
gains and favours. it at any means. The use or misuse of powers leads personal.
4. Personal Incompetence: Organisation is the strucfure having good many layers from top to the bottom. Each one wants to climb the ladder of higher level to move from
the bottom to the top. Moving to the higher posts through promotion depends on performance, merit, achievement, in additional seniority. As one goes up the rings of the administrative ladder, the coveted posts go on reducing. In case person has a strong desire to climb ladder, having no credentials or plus points to his credit, the only way to pull the legs of others and make room for him by any means. This is nothing but political behaviour that gets him right on top.
5. Scanty Resources: There are very few organisations that have ample resources. It is an exception than rule.Hence, a person or persons have power to allocate these scarce-resources, make these persons more imperative and influensive as they have rich source of power or authority.
An individual, or a section or a department or a division tries his or its best to get the maximum share in the cake. This encourages political behaviour where ‘rational’ allocation of resources is replaced by ‘politicised’ or irrational allocation.
6. Internal Technology External Environment: Experts are of the opinion that it is the nature of internal technology and external environment that together decide the extent of political behaviour. Generally it is found that increase in intricacy and complexity of internal technology
breeds politics; similarly, the external environment which is highly volatile which has deep impact on organisation; the sub-system-adds fuel to the fire of political behaviour.
7. Non-Programmed Decisions: It is impossible to come across any organisation where all decisions are programmed. In case everything is done by computer, then every
problem has alternative solutions and automatic selection best options to do away with problems. There are good many areas where known and structured methods and procedures will not work. These decisions involve too many variables which are not capable of being defined in clear cut
terms. However, there are persons in the organisations which are ‘super-computers’ who easily handle these issues and find the solutions. That is, an able man’s capability, knowledge skills become the source of power to influence others.
8. Organisational Change: Organisational change refers to the processes of growth, declines and transformation within the organisation. Organisational change takes
different forms. The organisation may change the strategy or purpose, introduce now products or services, change the way they produce and sell, change their technology, enter new markets, close down departments, plants, hire new employees, acquire other organisations, to become acquired by other organisations and so on. Whenever such changes take place people having power positions or powerful positions, they try to play political games. Thus, power is the source of politics that game playing is facilitated by organisational change.
9. Organisational Culture: Organisational culture stands for the sum total of the philosophies, idealogies, values, assumptions, beliefs, expectations, attitudes and the values and the norms that weave the fabric of organisation and shared by its employees. Any such culture that is manifested by low trust, role ambiguity, in-equitable performance evaluation systems, reward systems, communication systems and participative decision-making processes are sure to breed the opportunities for political games.
10. Mental Factors: Those employees who are authoritarian have very high risking propensity; or they possess an overt locus of control exhibit political behaviour with much less regards for the effects on the organisation.
Further, an individual’s investment in the organisation in terms of expectations and aspirations of incremental future benefits, alternative job opportunities and expectations of future possible success are sure to influence the degree or extent to which he pursues, illegitimate means of political activities or games.