Organizational Politics

Introduction Organizational politics refers to behaviors “that occur on an informal basis within an organization and involve intentional acts of influence that are designed to protect or enhance individuals’ professional careers when conflicting courses of action are possible” (Drory, 1993; Porter, Allen, & Angle, 1981). Organizational politics is an elusive type of power relations in the workplace. It represents a unique domain of interpersonal relations, characterized by the direct or indirect (active or passive) engagement of people in influence tactics and power struggles.

These activities are frequently aimed at securing or maximizing personal interests or, alternatively, avoiding negative outcomes within the organization (Kacmar & Ferris, 1991). According to Ferris & King, 1991; Mintzberg, 1983; 1985, organizational politics has been considered almost synonymous with manipulation, coercive influence tactics, and other subversive and semi-legal actions. Power and politics play a huge role in organization, from governing how decisions are made to how employees interact with one another.

One of the reason politics are exist in organization is some employees who do not believe in working hard depend on nasty politics to make their position secure at the workplace. Employees play politics simply to come in the limelight and gain undue attention and appreciation from the seniors. In other words, politics refers to irrational behavior of the individuals at the workplace to obtain advantages which are beyond their control. No body has ever gained anything out of politics; instead it leads to a negative ambience at the workplace.

The Effects of perceived politics on organizations and employees. In organization, the impact of power depends on whether employees use positive or negative power to influence others in the workplace. Politics may directly influence who has the power and determine whether the overall culture of the workplace encourages productivity. Positive power in an organization involves encouraging productivity.

This includes giving employees the power to make decisions, rewarding employees for strong performance and appointing employees who perform strongly to supervise other employees. Positive power builds employee confidence and motivates employees to work harder. It also results in those in higher-level positions gaining power through employee respect and communication, rather than coercive efforts. Employee retention rates are higher when employees are given the power to express concerns and work together in an organization. Politics in organisation also can create a positive workplace. Employees who learn to navigate the politics of an organization are more productive than those who are left out of the loop.

To encourage productivity, organizations must develop a political culture easy for employees to understand. Establishing clear policies and chains of command makes it easier for employees to find the answers they need and spend more time on producing quality work. A climate focused on collaboration and equal treatment prevents conflict that can reduce productivity. Other than postive effects, political organizations also can lead to the negative impact on employees and organisation. When leaders in an organization do not have the respect of the employees under them, they have a negative power.

This type of leader motivates employees to perform by threatening them with job loss and other punishments or shows favoritism to certain employees rather than recognizing the hard work of multiple employees. Not only does the quality of work produced decrease under this type of power, but it leads to higher turnover rates in an organization. Organizations that develop climates of negativity and conflict suffer as a result. If employees are encouraged to engage in dishonest or unethical behavior to get ahead and favoritism trumps the quality of work, an organization faces decreases in productivity and higher turnover rates.

An organization without clear policies and chains of command leads to employees spending more time searching for answers and attempting to fix problems than actually completing quality work. Politics lowers the output of an individual and eventually affects the productivity of the organization. Common observation says that individuals who play politics at the workplace pay less attention to their work. They are more interested in leg pulling and back biting. They spend most of their times criticizing their fellow workers. As a result of politics at the workplace, employees fail to achieve targets within the stipulated time frame.

Work gets delayed in such an organization. O’Connor and Morrison (2001) found that the organizational climate has an effect on organizational politics perceptions and on the organization’s performance. Witt et al. (2002) suggest that perceptions of the organization’s politics are a subjective scale that is dependent on the employees’ interpretation of the organizational climate. This scale is supposed to in? uence employees’ behavior and performance. Researchers suggest that employees who believe that their workplace is rife with politics tend to interpret every behavior in the organization in light of that perception.

For example, junior employees will avoid transmitting information that is opposed to senior management’s decisions, assuming that it could damage their promotion. In these cases, the negative outcomes for the organization’s performance could be highly signi? cant and could damage the organizational goals. New employees tend to learn quickly by observing and mimicking the customary behaviors and know when to withhold comment or ignore situations so that they will not have to defy their superior’s decisions or deviate from the acceptable political standards.

In fact, high levels of organizational politics may damage the organization’s performance in a number of ways. First, employees may interpret the presence of organizational politics as an indicator of a problem with the leadership or management of the organization itself. As a result, employees tend to feel that a certain violation of the ‘psychological contract’ between themselves and the leaders has occurred. This ‘psychological contract’ is composed of a social–economic interaction and is in? uenced by organizational politics perceptions.

Therefore, when some employees are rewarded or promoted as a result of what is perceived as a successful political maneuver, the other employees may see the decision as unfair. The result will be an increased distrust towards the ‘political player’ and the supervisor. Second, political behaviors tend to damage the social relations between the members of the organization. Third, employees who perceive their working environment as political in a negative sense may act in different ways to avoid taking part in the ‘political game.

Bartunk (1994) claims that employees who recoil at the behaviors of organizational politics tend to focus on just doing their jobs and keep their social interaction or professional collaboration with other members of the organization to a minimum. Finally, a political climate in an organization may lead to hiring unquali? ed people, just because they possess political power in the organization. The implications of inappropriate hiring on the organization’s performance are clear. It seems that in a working environment that is perceived as political, a relationship of distrust is created between the employees and the management.

Social connections in the organization are unstable. Communication channels are blocked and the tendency to act above and beyond the minimum requirements of the job de? nition is squelched. As a result, organizational performance may be seriously damaged. Performance in organizations comprises different variables that include not only direct, measurable tasks but also attitudinal variables, behavioral tendencies, behaviors and motivation. Motowidlo et al. (1986) also distinguished between task components and background variables that effect the performance of individuals, groups, or the organization.

For political issue in organisation, it can be one of the factor to understand more on employees performance based on the impact on employess' performance. For example, it will affects concentration of workers because they are more interested in spoiling the other person’s image in front of the superiors. An individual involved in politics is bound to make more mistakes as his focus is somewhere else. It will effect their productivity and quality of work. A non performer can be the apple of his boss’s eye simply due to politics, thus demotivating the performers.

Discussions are essential at the workplace to extract the best out of employees. Evaluating the pros and cons of an idea always helps in the long run. Employees playing politics always look for an opportunity to tarnish the image of the fellow workers. Employees feel demotivated when they are not rewarded suitably or someone who has not worked hard gets the benefits due to mere politics. Last but not least, politics in organisation can increase stress among employees. It is rightly said that problems evaporate if discussed.

Individuals find it difficult to confide in any of their fellow workers due to the fear of secrets getting leaked. Politics increases the stress level of the employees. Individuals are not machines who can work continuously for 8-9 hours without talking to others. It is important to have friends at the workplace who help you when needed. Stress lead them to burnout and come out with worst performance which also effect the organisation productivity. Politics and management are inherently linked within any organization as most often management represents the leadership and the most powerful group of employees.

The management style that the leaders choose is also important within organizational politics as it may lead to either a “flat” or a “tall” organization. Once this style is chosen, good leaders have to have a good knowledge of organizational politics to work effectively. This also means having a good idea of the organizations general strategy, and being able to work through organizational politics to ensure that important objectives are met. Positive political in organisation also can cause positive performance for employees and organisation overall.