Politics and Power in the Workplace.

Few business endeavors are as vulnerable to a credibility chasm as CEOs’ perspectives on organizational life. While managers assert that they make decisions using rational criteria while most observers and participants realize that quality and politics play considerable, if not dominant, roles, a sense of incredulity results.

Where is the mistake? In the idea that maintains that choices should be impersonal and rational? Or in the method that treats corporate structures as political ones?

Organizations are political structures, regardless of what else they may be (instruments for addressing problems, reward systems, socio-technical systems, etc.). As a result, organizations function by allocating authority and providing a framework for the use of power.

Therefore, it is not surprising that those who are strongly motivated to acquire and utilize power find a comfortable and welcoming environment in business.

Executives are hesitant to recognize the role that power plays in both individual motivation and interpersonal relationships within organizations. Politics and power are somehow derogatory terms. Some managers hide behind the organizational logics as a result of connecting these terms to the personality clash in organizations.

As I’ll argue in this post, decisions on strength distributions can be made with greater sensitivity when taking into account people’s skills and weaknesses. This will enhance the quality of organizational life.

Political Hierarchy 

Individuals have a power basis in organizations. Simply put, businesses exist to satisfy market demands in order to generate a surplus of revenue over expenses. Organizations, however, are also political structures that offer people the chance to advance their careers and, as a result, offer venues for the manifestation of personal interests and goals. 

In order to translate personal interests into actions that have an impact on other people, power must be accumulated. This is especially true at top managerial and professional levels.

Demand and opposition 

In a system of scarcity, where people vie for power, a political pyramid develops. People cannot just ask for the power they desire. Instead, individuals must participate in decisions about how to allocate authority within a specific formal organizational structure. There are two groups of circumstances that lead to electricity shortages:

1. Situations where people acquire total authority at the expense of others.

2. When there is a gain relative to others—not literally at their cost—resulting in a relative change in the power structure.

The mentality of shortage and comparison prevails in both scenarios. Humans frequently use comparisons to support their feeling of self-worth. He can judge that his absolute loss or the change in the proportional stakes of authority represents a decrease in his support base by comparing himself to others. 

Additionally, he might assess his standing in relation to others using a standard of his own and experience a feeling of loss. People have a strong propensity to compare, especially because they are exposed to the negative impacts of comparisons at a young age in the family, where the most dependent member always receives the most attention and time if not love and affection.

The results of both kinds of comparisons are illustrated by corporate purchases and mergers. In one merger, the president of the company that was bought resigned instead to accept the relative rank reduction that resulted from his loss of ability to serve as the company’s chief executive officer. 

The job of vice president was up for grabs between two vice presidents. The expedient of creating them equally forced the competition underground due to their competing goals, but only temporarily. Due to his failure to agree on a clear definition of his duties, the vice president with the lower power base quickly tendered his resignation.

Constituents and customers 

Politics in organizations develops from the presence of constituents in addition to the situations of scarcity and competitiveness. A superior may be happy with changes in the distribution of resources and, as a result, power, but he depicts subordinates who, for various reasons, may not be. These subordinates commend and assist their superior.

They can also stop giving superior affirmation and support, which would isolate them and have all the painful effects that come with it.

Strength & action 

The constant urge to exert one’s power is yet another element that intensifies the struggle for leverage that is a hallmark of all political organizations. In power exchanges, enterprises have an implicit “banking” system. The initial “capitalization” that constitutes a person’s power base is made up of three components:

1. The degree of official authority attached to his position in comparison to others.

2. The authority vested in his knowledge and track record of competence (a characteristic weighted by the significance of the knowledge for the corporation’s growth areas relative to the traditionally stable parts of its business).

3. His persona’s appeal to others (a variety of admiration and liking, albeit these two factors are sometimes at odds with one another).

This capitalization of ability represents the overall respect that people have for the person. The mechanism by which the person internalizes all of the sources of ability wealth is still not entirely known, although it is similar to how he builds self-esteem.

The person is aware of his influence, evaluates it realistically, and is prepared to jeopardize his self-respect in order to sway others.

stylistic prejudice 

The two types of mistakes that are frequently made in daily life—the mistakes of omission and the errors of commission—can affect both thought and action in organizational politics. People’s actions and inactions are what cause the positive and negative repercussions of action to outweigh one another.

However, there are other factors that need to be considered in addition to the specific omissions and commissions (the tactical components of action). The strategic elements cover both the company goals and objectives and the leadership style of those who bring about change.

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