While there are many uses of the word "politics," the one that best qualifies, for the purpose of this paper, is the following: the use of intrigue or strategy in obtaining any position of power or control, as in business, university, etc. (Dicitionary. com, 2008). The use of the words politics and power may stimulate a concern of authority and control to many. Although that may be true, the concept can be a positive or a negative factor — it just depends on the organization.
For example, at Methodist Hospital System in Houston TX, management has added a new program called "No One Dies Alone," in which employees volunteer time with terminal patients (100 Best Companies to Work For, 2008). This is a perfect illustration of how management has utilized their power to encourage team members (workers) to make use of their spare time helping others in need.
On the contrary, there are companies such as Dell Computer Inc. that, in the past, have manufactured products that were "faulty" and below standard, provided less that adequate training for customer service employees, and ignored the comments and complaints from customers on a global scale. That said, Dell is currently in the process of change management, and is now looked upon somewhat favorable from clients, customers, and employees.
Nevertheless, as a result of incorporating poor politics in the organization, the company suffered greatly — (1) Dell earnings plunged 33% in 2007 (Kessler & Swartz, 2007), (2) customers reported their negative comments openly on the internet, and (3) many workers left the company seeking better employment elsewhere. A stable, effective, and respectable organization relies on strong leadership to guide the business in a forward direction. It is the manager's job to help incorporate values, ethics, culture, and innovation within the organization.
Moreover, the use of power and politics can be positive tools that managers implement to accomplish tasks and projects. For example, at Carollo Engineers, P. C. , project managers illustrate expert power by acting as the agent who has the specialized knowledge that is needed to design and construct water treatment plants, while the staff of engineers, CAD operators, and administrative assistants maintains the day-to-day business. Expert power is essential in this instance because as a leader, the team looks to the project manager for direction and guidance.
Team members need to believe in the leader's ability to take charge in a worthwhile direction, give sound guidance, and coordinate a successful outcome. In many cases, generally speaking, people feel that the perception of power and political situations at the workplace are unfair and/or unethical. For instance, if an employee receives promotions, favors, and "special treatment" from a manager or a group, other workers may look upon this behavior as unjust or plain discriminatory.
However, at Questex Media Inc. , these images and notions are inapplicable as upper-management, mid-level managers, and team leaders treat every employee fairly and equally. This is a fine demonstration of how the omission of "power games" and "office politics" creates a positive atmosphere. The increasingly politicized environment of schools are examined in the context of the board of education's legal powers and the politics of education.
Historically, the superintendent of schools has dominated policy making, through schools boards influence has been noted in areas such as finance and physical facilities. A national advocate and institutional voice for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation, CHEA is an association of 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations (Council For Higher Education Accreditation, 2008).
Beckfield is a strong member of CHEA and believes in everything it does for higher education. It is evident that power and "political agendas" in this environment are not misused to advance a group, but implemented properly to help other groups and organizations excel. As upper management usually considers the power and politics of an organization, there are some businesses that allow for mid to lower managers to form political power groups, or "cliques" within a relatively small department.
These group leaders usually seek out employees that will "fit in" and take direction inside the congregation. Once the group is structured, they are considered, to some people, as the "in group," as they usually are informed first about upcoming changes and are somewhat favored by upper management. Managerial power in the workplace is the act of persuading coworkers and employees to think or behave as the manager would like.
The perception is, "if one can manipulate employees, that one can control production, progress, and the path to which the company will take. " At Penton Media, people generally fall into one of three groups: (1) the so called "in group" – those having all the political pull with upper management and other employees, (2) the "out group" – those who defiant, yet principled, and don't use power or politics to benefit their careers or advancement, and (3) the "neutral group" – those who don't understand or care to be associated with either group.
The use political power in this situation is considered negative and perhaps even manipulative as the control is governed by one or two groups – if you are not in the circle, you are an outsider and not to be trusted. An organization's strength and power is the ability of those persons, with given power, to bring out the desired results for the entire group — not just for one's self. Power in an organization is also the basis needed to initiate and sustain action with the ability to convert intention into reality continuously.
Politics in an organization is the reality for the individual to receive what they want, when they want it, and how they want it (Kotter, 2008). In the aforementioned examples, most companies use their internal politics and power for good use – to promote the organization and challenge staff members into achieving personal and profession goals. Nevertheless, there are some companies that misuse, abuse, and refuse to utilize these tools for the betterment of the business.