Bases of Power and Politics at Work

There is a common aphorism regarding success in any endeavor business or otherwise: it is not what you know but whom you know. One of the greatest skill sets a professional needs to develop is an understanding of corporate politics and power relationships within the organization. This was something that was understood from my first job observing those who had the closest relationship with the manager often got the best shifts, frequent promotions and pay raises.

Aristotle defines politics as originating from a diversity of interests. Within the sphere of the organization, everyone is a politician because “all employees bring their own interests, needs, and desires into the workplace” (Ratzburg). The current economic system emphasizes competition as a function of employment. While this may create a more innovative and efficient workplace, it may also create a hostile work environment. Our organization scored 22 on the scale as it involves sales and intense interpersonal competition.

Leaders can move toward a more harmonious work environment by keeping competition healthy and ensuring success for everyone by having the most successful employees to share their strategies with the team. Giving the successful employee an incentive to ‘share the wealth’ will improve the performance of the weaker employees while still rewarding the stronger ones for closing more sales. The power bases most useful for this scheme are the affiliation and information power bases.

That is, I create a network of potential allies by appealing to their self-interest and create a psychological obligation to help me with mine. According to Bielous (1995), employees are usually unconscious of the specific power bases they utilize over the course of their day. Employees can best have their needs met when the corporate climate rewards cooperation, teamwork, and innovation through team building activities and maintaining an open environment.

Corporate politics will always play a role, but it need not be pernicious. References Bielous, G. (1995). Seven Power Bases and How to Effectively Use Them. Retrieved May 23, 2009 from http://www. edelpage. the-mooseboy. com/7000/seven_power_bases. html Ratzburg, W. H. (n. d. ). Defining Organizational Politics. Retrieved May 23, 2009 from http://www. geocities. com/Athens? Forum/1650/htmlpolitic01. html