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.
Organizational Politics 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).
Organizational Power 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 determines what role in the politics he or she may play.
An individual who are part of the custodian or maintenance worker position may not feel that he or she has to play in politics within the franchise. While a person who is at an administrative level position may feel that learning the politics within that organization may be beneficial in the role that he or she may have to play. Playing the political game of who needs to lobby with whom in order for things to run smoothly is part of any organization. Decision-making processes tend to include who will be affected and how, which is also a part of politics.
Management might play the political game with corporate in order to ensure that their particular franchise is looked upon in high regard. Politics and power are intertwined. These entities tend to play against each other when it comes to any organization. The more power an individual may have may determine how much that individual may have to play the organization’s political game. At the same time, the amount of politics being played may determine how much power an individual may obtain within that organization.
Individuals that are a part of these organizations must learn the rules of these games in order to function effectively. These individuals are the administrative staff, the production workers, the salespeople, and the maintenance and/or custodial workers. No, these individuals may not be mainstream players; however, they do have to play the game at some level. Power and politics may be played against the other but individuals may find that it is beneficial to learn to play the game with power and politics both on their side. Conclusion Believe it or not, everyone participates in the game of politics and power.
The political game is played everywhere, whether it is during a conversation at work, at home, at school, or event at the grocery store. According to Clarke (1990), “We all have hopes and wishes in relation to other people. We all try to make those hopes and wishes come true. That is political action. ” Power and politics also plays a significant role in the business world. From the largest corporation to the smallest of franchises, the power and politics game is being played. Politics will always be a part of an organization, as long as people are involved. Like it or not, politics and power is everywhere.
For employees to advance in their career, they need to recognize and accept the game in their organization. Employees need to learn not to judge the game, but rather just play along (Grimm, 2004). References Clarke, C. (1990). Job Stress. Retrieved October 28, 2006, from http://www. superperformance. com/jobstress. html Graham, G. , 2006. Eliminate office politics and end many problems in companies. Retrieved October 27, 2006, from http://www. career/planning. about. com/ed/workplacesurvival/a/politics. htm Grimm, J. (2004). Newsroom Politics: Turf and cracks; noses and toes.
Retrieved October 29, 2006, from http://www. freep. com/legacy/jobspage/toolkit/politics. htm McKay, D. , 2006. Office Politics. Retrieved October 27, 2006, from www. careerplanning. about. com/ed/workplacesurvival/a/politics. htm Opis Management Resources (2006). Management Polices and Procedures. Retrieved on October 27, 2006 from www. opismr. com Power and Politics in the Workplace. Retrieved October 27, 2006, from www. csus,edu/indiv/s/sablynskie. htm Robin, Daniel (2004). Hidden Sources in the Workplace. Retrieved on October 27, 2006 from http://www. abetterworkplace. com/site_map. html.