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Bangladesh University of Professionals

Faculty of Business Studies

Our term paper is based on the power
and politics in organization in which
we focus on organizational politics.
The purpose of our research work is to
identify the sources of power and how
power is required for leadership. This
study also tries to explain types of
political organizations, factors those
influence power and politics and
factors contributing to political
behavior in organizations.



Master of Business Administration (Professional)



Dr. Mohammad Tazul Islam

Associate Professor
Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM)
Course Instructor
Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP)


Name ID

Md. Jahirul Islam Bhuiyan 2023031077

E.M. Samin Anjum Sadman 2023031007

Md. Rakibul Hassan Shaheen 2023031043

Md. Rakibul Alam 2023031057

Md. Zahid Reza 2023031033

Aminul Islam 2023031069

Sirajum Munira 2023031097


25 April 2020

Dr. Mohammad Tazul Islam

Associate Professor
Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM)
Course Instructor
Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP)

Subject: Submission of Term Paper on “Use of power and politics in organization”.

Dear Sir,

It gives us an immense pleasure in submitting to you the term paper on “Use of power and
politics in organization” which is the topic under our observation.

While preparing the term paper, we closely focused on the topic and tried to collect most
complete information available. We believe that it will provide you a clear scenario of the
picture of “Use of power and politics in organization” including from the MNC and Local

We thank you for giving us the opportunity to do a term paper on the above mention point.
This term paper will definitely give us experience which we can use in our professional life.
We will be always available for any further query and to answer any questions on this term

Sincerely yours,

Name ID




MD. RAKIBUL ALAM 2023031057

MD. ZAHID REZA 2023031033

AMINUL ISLAM 2023031069


Our term paper is based on the power and politics in organization in which we focus on
organizational politics. The purpose of our term paper is to identify the sources of power and
how power is required for leadership. This study also tries to explain types of political
organizations, factors those influence power and politics and factors contributing to political
behavior in organizations. The report further elicits how organizations use strategies and tactics
against power and politics. In a nutshell we identify the effects of power and politics on
organizations as well as on the society as a whole.
Generally, most of us equate politics with the stereotypical politician and because of this most
of us have the view that the nature of politics is power-hungry, self-seeking, corrupt, and, in
some cases, violent. These ideas come from our socialization, as well as from our exposure to
social forces and our own experiences with politicians. By conducting this study, we found that
skillful and appropriate use of organizational politics is necessary for a leader to acquire and
retain power and to accomplish major goals. Although political behavior can be unethical and
destructive, it also can and should be ethical and contribute to a balanced set of interests.

Organizational politics can hurt an organization and its members when carried to excess. Too
much politicking can result in lower morale, higher turnover, and wasted time and effort,
thereby lowering performance. To avoid these negative consequences, leaders should combat
political behavior when it is excessive and dysfunctional. Organizational politics and power
can control through proper accountability otherwise bad impact and effects of power and
politics on organization and whole society.


CHAPTER 1:POLITICS………………………………………………………………… …5
1.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 5
1.2 Thoughts on Politics ......................................................................................................... 6

CHAPTER 2:POWER ............................................................................................................... 8

2.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 8
2.2 Meaning of power ............................................................................................................ 8
2.3 Empowerment and authority ............................................................................................ 8
2.4 Difference between Authority and Power ........................................................................ 9
2.5 Bases of power: .............................................................................................................. 10
2.6 Three dimensions of power: ........................................................................................... 12
2.7 Politics: power in action ................................................................................................. 13
2.8 Power a need for leadership: .......................................................................................... 14
2.9 Sources of power ............................................................................................................ 15

CHAPTER 3:ORGANIZATIONAL POLITICS AND POWER ............................................ 17

3.1 Definition: .................................................................................................................... 17
3.2 Goal Setting Intervention in Public Sector Organization: ............................................ 18
3.3 Facing Challenges: ....................................................................................................... 19
3.4 Is There a Power Struggle? .......................................................................................... 21
3.5 Organizational Politics and Power ............................................................................... 22
3.6 Conditions Supporting Organizational Politics ............................................................ 24
3.7 Types of Political Organizations .................................................................................. 24
3.8 Factors Influencing Power and Politics. (Organization) .............................................. 25
3.9 Factors Contributing to Political Behavior .................................................................. 26
3.10 Use of Political Strategies and Tactics in Organization ............................................... 27
3.11 Avoiding Political And Power Blunders ...................................................................... 30
3.12 Potentially Unethical Political and Power Strategies and Tactic ................................. 31
3.13 A Cave .......................................................................................................................... 31
3.14 Exercising Control over Functional Politics and Power in Organization .................... 32

CHAPTER 4:CONCLUSION ................................................................................................. 34

REFERENCES ........................................................................................................................ 38

The term politics originates from Greek word Polis. Aristotle opines that it is Zoon politikon,
Which means political animal and suggests that man can only reside in a group (i.e. Public)
that necessarily leads to politics. Politics is the study of influence and the influential. Influence
is measured on the basis of the number of shares one or a group has in the preferred values or
attributes. The more values or attributes shared, the greater the influence. One of the other
definition which serves to explain it is “politics is the process of seeking and using power”

Politics can simply be defined in three ways:

 Firstly, it attempts to discover the general principles, formation and functioning of

 Secondly, it is concerned with people and the way in which they make decisions and
the way those decisions are reached.
 Thirdly, politics is that part of the social sciences which treats the foundations of the
state and the principle of government, governmental, social and economic programs,
international relations, organizations and cooperation.

Politics goes beyond the activity of government, the political parties and the politicians. Politics
is a universal phenomenon that is; it is present in all human organization such as the family,
trade unions, corporations, universities, etc. In all these organizations, politics is characterized
by struggle for power and influence, conflict, bargaining, reconciliation, resolution and

The term organizational

politics refers to the
informal ways people try
to exercise influence in
organizations through the
management of shared
meaning. As such, politics should be viewed as neither an inherently bad nor good phenomenon
but rather one to be observed, analyzed, and comprehended to gain a more informed
understanding of organizations and how they operate. Theory and research on organizational

politics has fallen into essentially three categories. One area concerns itself with the nature of
actual political behavior, types of tactics and strategies, and their consequences. A second
category focuses on perceptions of politics in work environments by individual employees, the
antecedents of such perceptions, and their consequences. The third, and most recent, category
of research on organizational politics emphasizes the construct of political skill, and
demonstrates the role it plays in organizational behavior.

Organizations provide a power base for individuals. From a purely economic standpoint,
organizations exist to create a surplus of income over costs by meeting needs in the
marketplace. But organizations also are political structures which provide opportunities for
people to develop careers and therefore provide platforms for the expression of individual
interests and motives. The development of careers, particularly at high managerial and
professional levels, depends on accumulation of power as the vehicle for transforming
individual interests into activities which influence other people.


The aim of organizational politics is to sell ideas, influence others and to achieve objectives;
they are informal and unofficial and can sometimes occur ‘behind closed doors. (Brandon &
Seldman, 2004). Organizational politics has a long history with Aristole commenting that the
reason politics is present is due to diversity of interests, which need to be resolved. When
rational thought does not work, many executives use political tactics to gain compliance.
However, despite this negative perception of organizational politics, there is evidence that
organizational politics are not necessarily evil but that political skill, if used effectively, can
aid in gaining compromises in difficult workplace situations (Hochwarter, Witt, & Kacmar,

Although organizational politics and perceptions of organizational politics largely have been
related to negative personal and organizational outcomes, this negative relationship is
avoidable. Political skill, although partly inherent, can be taught to train individuals to thrive
in organizational environments that they deem political.
Even though politics is not necessarily bad, it can waste valuable time in organizations and
distract employees from focusing on their job performance. Managers can waste a lot of time
managing politics. It can also be self-serving in that dysfunctional politics can threaten the
credibility of an organization and many managers find it distasteful to use political skills to
manage chaos in the workplace. Moreover, when employees engage in excessive political
behavior, they are less committed to their organization and there is a decrement in job
performance (Anderson, 1994).

Ernest Baker stated that “politics is the process of making and execution of governmental
decisions or policies”. Harold Less well and Abraham Kaplan (1950) defined politics as
authoritative, allocation of values or who gets what, when and how.

Austine Ranany maintained that politics is a process of “resolution of conflict in society”.

For Max Weber, politics is the operation of the state and its institutions. Politics for him means
the sharing power to influence the distribution of power among individuals and groups within
a state. Lass well suggests that politics is essentially the struggle for positions of power and
influence by which those who succeed in monopolizing such positions in society are able to
make decisions that affect the lives of every citizen within the country. More will be said about
power later when we examine it as a topic on its own.

To make effective use of organizational politics, leaders must be able to make appropriate use
of specific political strategies and tactics. The ethical behavior is regarded as an important
requirement for effective leadership. Leaders must be able to influence their followers to
achieve greater performance; their superiors and peers to make important decisions; and
stakeholders to ensure the vitality of the organization.

When we speak of power we do not mean men power over nature, or means of production, or
over himself, we actually mean man’s control over the mind’s and actions of other men. When
we speak of political power we refer to the mutual relations of control among the holders of
public authority and people at large. Political power and physical force are two different things.
When violence or physical force becomes the practical actuality and people it amounts to
negation of power. Physical power can be an instrument of power but not power in any sense.
Political power is a psychological relation between those who exercise it and those over it is
exercised. It gives the former control over certain actions of the latter through the influence
which the former exerts over the latter’s mind.


The concept of power is quite complex and it is not easy to provide a commonly acceptable
definition. It shall, therefore, be desirable to discuss some definitions of power to reach an
acceptable conclusion.

Prof. Morgenthau defines political power as “a psychological relation between those who
exercise it and those over whom it is exercised.”

According to Achwarzenberger “the power is capacity to impose one’s will on others by

reliance on effective sanctions in case of non- compliance”

In the broad sense, power can be defined as “the ability or capacity to control others and get
them to do what one wants them to do and also to see that they do not what one does not want
them to do.”

Empowerment is related to the word power. In English, the concept leans on its original
meaning of investment with legal power—permission to act for some specific goal or purpose.

The new meaning of the concept includes mainly references to power that develops and is
acquired. People are managing to gain more control over their lives, either by themselves or
with the help of others. The form to be empowered relates to what is both a process and an

outcome to the effort to obtain a relative degree of ability to influence the world. Authority is
the ability to exercise influence over a group of people.


The terms Authority and Power have different meanings in management. Authority is the right
given to a manager to achieve the objectives of the organization. It is a right to get the things
done through others. It is a right to take decisions. It is a right to give orders to the subordinates
and to get obedience from them. A manager cannot do his work without authority. According
to Henri Fayol, "Authority is the right to give orders and power to exact (get) obedience."

A manager gets his authority from his position or post. He gets his authority from the higher
authorities. The lower and middle-level managers get their authority from the top-level
managers. The top-level managers get their authority from the shareholders.

Authority always flows downwards. It is delegated from the top to the bottom. Also shown in
below picture

Power is a broader concept than authority. Power is the ability of a person or a group to
influence the beliefs and actions of other people. It is the ability to influence events. Power can
be personal power. A person gets his personal power from his personality or from his expert
knowledge. Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Programmers, etc. get their power from their
expertise and professional knowledge. Power can also be legitimate or official power. This
power comes from a higher authority.

In management, authority differs from power in the following ways:-

i. Nature: Authority is the formal right given to a manager to make decisions or to
command. Power is the personal ability to influence others or events.
ii. Flow: Authority flows downwards in the organization. This is because it is delegated
by the superiors to the subordinates. Power can flow in any direction. Even subordinates
have power over their superiors, if they can influence their behavior. So power can flow
upwards, downwards or horizontally.
iii. Organizational Charts: Authority relationships (superior-subordinate relationships)
can be shown in the organization charts. Power relationships cannot be shown in
organization charts.
iv. Level of Management: Authority depends on the level of management. Higher the
level of management, higher will be the authority and vice-versa. Power does not
depend on the level of management. Power can exist at any level of management. Even
a lower-level manager or a worker can have power to influence the behavior of a top-
level manager.
v. Legitimacy: Authority is always official in nature. So it is legitimate. Power need not
be official in nature. So it need not be legitimate.
vi. Position and Person: Authority is given to a position or post. The manager gets the
authority only when he holds that position. Power resides (lives) in the person who uses


i. The origins basses or source of power

The bases of power are divided onto different attributes. To know about the knowledge of the
power about its use in the first stage is identify that some individuals and groups have more
power than others why it is. Power rottenly comes from several sources at the same time and
some of these sources are located within and individual or groups some sources comes from
the nature of the organization and some other sources may be arise from the situations.

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ii. The interpersonal basis of the power

Several different scheme has been suggested that sources of power should be divided into
different parts but according to French and Raven's (1959) five basis of power; the original
scheme only gives the ideas about these bases but some sources derived from the power holder
positions and some others sources derived from the personal characteristics these are divided
into two groups.
iii. The origins/ sources or bases of power

The different parts in the organizational origins are discussed as under:

 Reward power: Someone who handles the distribution of rewards to other people he
has some special power then other people, because he's providing the value and rewards
to others. the more formally structured an organization the more likely it is that this
type of power will be limited by rules, for instance, supervisor may be have only
authority to make recommendations about increased rewards for the subordinators, but
the main and actual decision is the prerogative of a higher level manger. The use of
reward power is also affected by informal custom and practice arrangements.
 Coercive power: Coercive power is the totally different from the reward power.
Coercive power is the ability to inflict punishment which means to force someone to do
something against his wish. Coercive power is possibly physical harm but sometime
other threats could be used but its main purposes compliance. Coercive power is the
power of dictators, financial, expert and personnel. Examples of coercive power are all
governments. Although mostly it is use as negative but also it is often seen to keep the
peace. For children's who know no better about anything parents used the coercive
 Legitimate power: Legitimate power is the formal rank or role which means resources;
knowledge, technical skills and access to others. Legitimacy power come from coercive
power or higher power. Examples of legitimate power are Kings, policemen and
managers. These people have the legitimate power because obey them because of their
position not by their personality. When they fall from their position people do not do
so. An example this kind of power could be the authority that a manger holds over a
subordinate or that a teacher has over a student.
 Expert power: Expert power is the power of superior knowledge and skills. When a
person has strong knowledge and skills that someone as requires then he has expert
power. Like; if a person has strong knowledge about anything then he can get the better

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level as compare to those who don't have much power like doctors. This form of power
is very common power. Examples of expert power are specialist engineers and trade
unions. These all use this power to get benefits and when they want to maintain their
 Referent Power: Referent power is the power when people want to be like you, your
attributes and trades. The most common Examples of referent powers are celebrities
and social leaders. When social leaders or celebrities come in any place in the front of
the public then public like them and wants some miracles through they can get the
personality just like them. Due to referent power people use this power in negative
sense and some time they use their power in positive sense like; the social leader can
use his power anywhere to protect his self from others and could give order to any one
for any work. That is why some time people feel fear due to this. “Power that arises
because of a person's desirable resources or personal traits”.


There are three dimensions of power.

i. Channels:
There are three different channels in which power is enacted
 Physical power:
Physically power is the power of strength or skills. Individually; physically powers come
from having weapons.
 Informational power:
Informational power comes from knowledge it often comes from the control of access to
 Emotional power:
Emotional power is the social power of affect using emotion and body language
ii. Intents:
Intent means in which sense the power is used. There are two ways of power in which it is used
 Positive power
Positive power is used for good purpose and it does not harm.
 Negative power
This kind of power is used to harm others or other negative emotions.

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iii. Deliberateness:
There are two triggers of power which lead to power being used
 Reactive power
Reactive power is use in the response to situations
 Proactive power
Proactive power used consciously. For example; using physically strength to attack

This table shows the uses of power by understanding channels and sources of power in
which these are used either these are physical, informational or emotional.

Uses of power Nature Physical Informational Emotional

Reactive Positive Do not harm Open book allow Respond to

access calls for help

Negative Allow harm Do not inform deny Ignore

Reject calls

Proactive Positive Defend Inform, teach warm of Comfort


Negative Attack Withhold information Taunt

Do harm Blackmail, deceive Seduce


Politics includes the activities, which are not a part of an individual’s formal role in the
organization but affect the advantages and disadvantages with the organization. Organizational
politics is the influence to obtain results not allowed by the organization or to obtain allowed
results with the help of means that are not allowed.

From the above definite the following points are clear.

 Political behavior is not a part of an individual’s job’s requirement.
 It includes effort to influence the goals, criteria or processes used for decision making.

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 It includes many political behavior like refusing to give important information to
decision maker’s spreading rumors and leaking confidential information etc.22

Research was conducted and question was asked that if “Politics is important to achieve
power in organization”.

The response is shown in bellow Pie Chart.

Politics is important to achieve power in




The concepts of power and leadership have been and will continue to be interconnected. While
an individual may exert power without being a leader, an individual cannot be a leader without
having power. Authors defined power simply as ‘the potential to influence others.’ This
definition helps demystify power and puts into perspective the importance of using power in
order to be an effective leader. In organizational settings, leaders must exert power to achieve
individual, team, and organizational goals. Leaders must be able to influence their followers to
achieve greater performance; their superiors and peers to make important decisions; and
stakeholders to ensure the vitality of the organization.

We wanted to gauge the perception leaders have of their own sense of power. Based on the
sample of leaders surveyed, most recognize that they possess power at work. There is also a
notable correlation between how powerful a leader believes he or she is at work and that
leader’s level in the organization. Leaders at a higher organizational level tended to rate
themselves as more powerful at work, while those lower in the organizational hierarchy tended
to rate themselves as less powerful.

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Most of the people believe that their organizations work to empower their people at all levels,
and their organization rewards leaders for empowering people. Organizational trends relative
to power and leadership suggest that while power is not typically misused by top leaders, it
does tend to be concentrated to a select few individuals. However, the flatter organizational
structures and self-directed work teams that were first implemented through the empowerment
movements of the 1980s and1990s are becoming commonplace. This trend may increase the
level of empowerment that employees experience in future years. Organizations also reward
leaders who empower the people they lead, thereby encouraging overall employee
empowerment; however, fewer organizations take the opportunity to teach leaders how to
effectively use the power they possess.
During research when people were asked that “Successful executives must be good

65% NO


When most people think about power, their minds go immediately to the control that High-
level leaders exert from their positions atop the organizational hierarchy. But power extends
far beyond the formal authority that comes from a title (or from having corner office with a
view).Leaders at all levels have access to power; often that power goes unrecognized or
underutilized. Previous research in this area has identified seven bases of power that leaders
may leverage.
• The power of position is the formal authority that derives from a person’s title or
position in a group or an organization.
• The power of charisma is the influence that is generated by a leader’s style or persona.
• The power of relationships is the influence that leaders gain through their formal and
informal networks both inside and outside of their organizations.

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• The power of information is the control that is generated through the use of evidence
deployed to make an argument.
• The power of expertise is the influence that comes from developing and communicating
specialized knowledge (or the perception of knowledge).
• The power of punishment is the ability to sanction individuals for failure to conform to
standards or expectations.
• The power of reward is the ability to recognize or reward individuals for adhering to
standards or expectations.

Leaders can be more effective when they emphasize the power of relationships and the power
of information, and also develop their other available bases of power. Strategies for leveraging
power effectively include:

Make relationships a priority. Identify the people with whom you need to establish or develop
a relationship. Your ability to use the power of relationships will be compromised if you are
not connecting with the right people. Invest time and energy into your existing relationships.
Seek to understand others better and acknowledge the needs of others in order to build the
social capital required to influence others now and in the future. Repair damaged relationships
and the image others may have of you. Look for ways to reestablish trust with others through
face-to-face interaction and the sharing of honest feedback.

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The term politics is derived from the Greek word “politics” meaning a city or state.
Organizational politics is a natural part of organizational life. Organizations that are driven by
unhealthy levels of political behavior suffer from lowered employee organizational
commitment, job satisfaction, and performance as well as higher levels of job anxiety and
depression. Individual antecedents of political behavior include political skill, internal locus of
control, high investment in the organization, and expectations of success. Organizational
antecedents include scarcity of resources, role ambiguity, frequent performance evaluations
and promotions, and democratic decision making.

Organizational politics are informal, unofficial, and sometimes behind-the-scenes efforts to sell
ideas, influence an organization, increase power, or achieve other targeted objectives (Brandon
& Seldman, 2004; Hochwarter, Witt, & Kacmar, 2000). Politics has been around for millennia.
Aristotle wrote that politics stems from a diversity of interests, and those competing interests
must be resolved in some way. “Rational” decision making alone may not work when interests
are fundamentally incongruent, so political behaviors and influence tactics arise.

Difference between private company and public company

The similarities and differences of both organizations have been drawn and analyzed based on
certain basic concepts of organization that include goals, goods and services, resource
ownership, organization structure and design, leadership and manager ship, decision making
and organization culture. The reason to apply these concepts and exclude others is that these
concepts are very fundamental to the organization analysis and have greater applicability over
other concepts in pursuance of understanding the features of public or private organizations in
a systematic manner.

Private Company

A company with private ownership is called private company. It does not need to meet the
strict Securities and Exchange Commission filing requirements of public companies. Private
companies may issue stock and have shareholders. However, their shares do not trade on public

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exchanges and are not issued through an initial public proposing. In general, the shares of these
businesses are less liquid and the values are difficult to determine.

Public Company

A company that has issued securities through an initial public offering (IPO) and is traded on
at least one stock exchange or in the over the counter market. Although a small percentage of
shares may be initially "floated" to the public, the act of becoming a public company allows
the market to determine the value of the entire company through daily trading.


The first step in goal setting intervention in a public sector organization is to know what the
customers think is important. This is a salient factor which drives goal setting intervention and
performance measurement in agencies and government establishments.

The main focus of goal setting intervention in public sector organization is to ensure that this
organization continues to operate competitively and effectively even as leaders leave or pursue
other ventures. This is frequent part of social work organizations whose focus is aimed at
fostering client growth. It involves the process of systematically identifying, assessing and
developing organizational leadership to ensure that all important positions in an organization
are filled. By having goal setting intervention plan, managerial decisions, daily operations, and
resource allocations can also be set to improve the performance targets offered by such

Goal setting intervention in public sector organizations has become a crucial topic on
government websites and in scholarly articles of recent. The main focus of goal setting
intervention in a public sector organization is to ensure that this organization continues to
operate competitively and effectively even as leaders leave or pursue other ventures. This is
frequently part of social work organizations whose focus is aimed at fostering client growth.

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Organizational politics help further the
shared values and communal goals of an…

55% 45%


Maintaining employee’s work-life balance is the key challenge in this regard due to which
organizations and corporations develop and adapt to strategies to ensure employees work-life
balance. Organization and corporations are facing the following key challenges while trying to
stay competitive and creating growth and sustainability.

1. Global politics, rules, and regulations: The changing global politics, rules and
regulations have made it so challenging for the organizations and corporations to
adaptive, have compliance and thrive.

2. Adapting Technology and Innovation: The rapidly changing technology and

innovation in every aspect of business and life give tough time to organizations and
corporations to adapt to technological changes and innovation.

3. Cyber Security and the rising threats to privacy and data protection: The key
concern of the organization and corporations is to protect business and customer’s data,
and improve the privacy of the customers due to the rising cyber security threats across
the globe.

4. Talent attraction, talent development, and Talent Retention: The key to

organizational success is human resources. Organizations and corporations face
challenges to hiring the right talent, develop the human resource for job and future work
to be productive and effective, and retain the talent to have best human resources for
the services or products they offer.

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5. Customer Satisfaction, Customer services, and marketplace competition: It’s very
challenging for the organizations and corporations to manage the changing customer’s
relationships and expectations by providing timely and efficient services to satisfy their
needs and desires. It’s more challenging when it comes to marketplace competitors
which force organizations and corporations to perform better, efficiently and
productively to satisfy customers’ needs and maintain long last relationship with them.

6. Changing Nature of the jobs and Employees work-life balance: The 4th industrial
resolutions, the high technological development in all walks of life and the changing
nature of the jobs have focused the organizations and corporations to design flexible
hierarchy by including the job diversity to cope with the changing nature of the jobs the
job seekers or employees are looking forward. They are also developing strategies to
help employees balance their work life to provide comfort and easy both at work and
private life due to the virtual workplace.

7. Financial Complexity due to globalization and diverse customers &

employees: The cost calculation and global price strategies, universal payment
methods and currency rate are key challenges that organizations and corporations are
facing and trying to better and more effectively adapt to these. International accounting,
global audit and financial management challenge the organizations and corporations to
develop effective system and strategies.

8. Supply Chain Complexity: It’s a great challenge to choose the right global shipment
methods, and develop supply chain strategies to ensure lower cost, minimize the risk
and maximize the profit or impact.

9. Developing the right system for organization and corporation: There has been an
amazing development in every aspect of life due to technology and innovation which
has to change the working nature of business and people. Due to the market complexity,
customer diversity, cyber security threat, attracting the right talent and due to the
changing nature of the job and financial complexity, it’s so challenging for the
organizations and corporations to develop the right system for them which effective,
efficient and productive.

10. Embracing Change and maintaining the reputation: When it comes to embracing
the changes internally and externally organizations and corporations are struggling to

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embrace and incorporate the changes. It also makes them more concern about how they
can maintain their reputation in the marketplace.


Every environment has their own internal system that is dictated by aspects such as power and
politics. These things have as much control over the functionality of an organizational as the
individual features of organizational behavior. Often, they can shift how those components
develop and affect those in the environment as well. Their impact-and that of those who control
them-can shape the entire dynamics of an organization more so than any other force.

Power and politics within a business or organization are rather similar to the traditional political
structures of government: authority is divided throughout the different parts of the system that
power is exerted in. There are often different sources of power competing for control, which
isn't necessarily a bad thing until someone decides to fight dirty. The internal politics of an
organization, too, can be polarized as everyone will most likely relate to one side of an issue
over another no matter how neutral they attempt to remain. All in all, the organizational power
and politics in a business can be a fascinating and unique thing that can have a serious impact
on organizational behavior.

Power struggles are a common occurrence in society, not just business. One person wants
something from someone else, yet that person isn't willing to budge on the issue and just hand
it over. In response, that first person may try to exert their own power and authority (perceived
or actual) to try and persuade the other person to concede. It's a tactic that can work on occasion,
but it can make a situation turn combative and toxic when it isn't successful. It occurs between
co-workers, employees and their supervisors, amongst management, between different
departments, and in board rooms in businesses across the world.

As normal as they are, power struggles are not an effective way to get things done in a working
environment. They can damage the climate of the workplace, turning it toxic and stressful even
for those who are not involved. It wastes time that can be better used towards productivity and
often causes the situation to unnecessarily escalate. When a power struggle escalates, it often
drags office politics into the mix and forces people to take a side. Attempts to avoid taking
sides or getting roped in don't always work, and you may still be bombarded with the conflict
even if you are successful in staying out of the situation.

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The ability to stay out of a power struggle is a skill that can give you a lot of power in business,
one that is best used to protect yourself. Surviving a power struggle is often the goal regardless
of what industry you work in. There's still the aftermath to deal with when the dust settles, and
the effects can hit anyone who happens to be standing too close. Experts say that if you want
to not get involved with a power struggle, then your best bet is to not acknowledge a person's
position in an argument, but their feelings. Make neutral observations, which can be used
supportively should either party confront you about the situation and your stance in it; i.e. 'This
has got to be so frustrating. I hope you two are able to work things out' or something similar
that validates the emotional component of the situation.

One has to be political to get promoted in organization

69% NO


Many people regard organizational politics as something negative (e.g., pursuing self-interests
at the expense of others) and something to be minimized. Consequently, although most people
know that organizational politics are common, they avoid saying so when it concerns one’s
own behavior. It is more common to talk about politics when complaining about a loss to a
friend than it is in the context of one's own political maneuvering. When we win on an issue,
we call it leadership; when we lose, we call it politics. In many organizations, politics is a taboo
subject, which makes it difficult for individuals to deal with this crucially important aspect of
organizational reality.

Politics are a part of organizational life, because organizations are made up of different interests
that need to be aligned. In fact, 93% of managers surveyed reported that workplace politics
exist in their organization, and 70% felt that in order to be successful, a person has to engage
in politics (Gandz & Murray, 1980). In the negative light, saying that someone is “political”
generally stirs up images of back-room dealing, manipulation, or hidden agendas for personal
gain. A person engaging in these types of political behaviors is said to be engaging in self-

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serving behavior that is not sanctioned by the organization (Ferris et al., 1996; Valle & Perrewe,
2000; Harris, James, & Boonthanom, 2005; Randall et al., 1999).

Examples of these self-serving behaviors include bypassing the chain of command to get
approval for a special project, going through improper channels to obtain special favors, or
lobbying high-level managers just before they make a promotion decision.

Researchers have found that if employees think their organization is overly driven by politics,
the employees are less committed to the organization (Maslyn & Fedor, 1998; Nye & Wit,
1993), have lower job satisfaction (Ferris et al., 1996; Hochwarter et al., Kacmar et al., 1999),
perform worse on the job (Anderson, 1994), have higher levels of job anxiety (Ferris et al.,
1996; Kacmar & Ferris, 1989), and have a higher incidence of depressed mood (Byrne et al.,

Power is the ability to make things happen according to one’s perspective by getting someone
else to do it for you. It is mainly beneficial in organizations where the managers assign tasks
to different employees and make them do those tasks. It is their role to guide on what employees
should do to achieve organizational success. Power aids in providing a sense of direction
towards the organizational goals.

In organizations, there are various sources of power. However, the primary source of power is
the legitimate power, which means the power assigned based on job designation. It is allocated
according to the rank level within the organization (Kotter, 2008). Officers in the higher level
such as management are perceived to have power over junior employees. Besides, other sources
of power are relevant in an organization. Experts in a certain field have enough knowledge on
that area giving them power over employees lacking such knowledge.

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There are many different types of political organizations that are involved in influencing
political decisions:

i. Candidate Committees: Candidates typically have exploratory or campaign committees.

These committees are designed to do fundraising, manage the candidate’s election
campaign, and generally work to the candidate nominated or elected. Candidate
committees are completely separate from party committees and from most advocacy
groups for legal reasons.

ii. Political Parties: Political parties are groups of people who have banded together to
express their common goals by putting their chosen candidates on the election ballot so
the public can vote for them. Political parties have different types of events and
committees that operate at the federal, state, and local level.

iii. Advocacy Groups: Advocacy Groups do not run candidates and do not participate
directly in campaigns. Instead they try to influence public opinion or elected officials.
Depending on the type of organization, they are allowed to do certain things and not
others. Types of advocacy groups include 501(c) groups that are very restricted in what
they can do (typically only voter registration and minor issue education). 527 advocacy
groups can do voter mobilization and issues advocacy. PACs can raise and spend hard

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money to elect or defeat a candidate. Or they can raise and spend soft money to do
issues advocacy.


The political behavior of individuals in the organization is influence by variety of factors. These
factors can be broadly categorized into individual and organizational factors.

i. Individual Factors: There are individual factors where individuals play politics to satisfy
their personal needs. These personal or individuals needs are like to gain power for
control and to influence decision-making process of the organization. The aim of such
individuals is to increase the area of their influence. They try to sustain power as it helps
to obtain personal needs and fulfill desires. In organizations, individuals play politics
as they have great desire and high need of gaining power. Such types of individuals are
basically internals and self-monitored people. There are many individuals who play
politics because of their expectation of quick success in life at any cost.

ii. Organizational Factors: There are some of the organizational factors that influence the
individuals to play politics in the organizations .these factors are as follow:

• Limited Resources in the organization: When there are limited resources in the
organization then every individual in the organization wants to have optimum
resources. It results in making individuals getting engaged themselves in politics to get
the maximum advantage of the distribution of resources.

• Interpretation of limited resources: The interpretation of limited resources like

position, power, promotion etc. in the organization makes individuals engage in the
politics. The individual who craves for such resources feels that they may be deprived
of such resources in the process of distribution of resources and so they play politics in
the organization.

• Uncertainty in decision-making: There are some individuals who take advantage of the
situation where there is uncertainty and ambiguity in decision-making because of
unclear rules and policies.

• Performance evaluation: The individuals tend to play politics in the organization when
performance evaluation and its outcome are subjective, qualitative and unclear

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• High Performance pressure: The individuals play politics when they are enforced with
high performance pressure. The politics playing in the organization becomes measure
to pressurize authority to withdraw control and lower the performance target.

• Decision-making culture: Democratic and participative decision-making culture of the

organization is also liable to organizational politics as every individual wants to
enhance his/ her importance and thereafter give opinion on crucial and important

• Affecting lower level persons: The lower level persons get affected when they
experience persons at higher level playing politics.


A number of individual and organizational factors contribute to political behavior

i. Pyramid-shaped organization structure: A pyramid concentrates power at the

top. Only so much power is therefore available to distribute among the many
people who would like more of it. Each successive layer on the organization chart
has less power than the layer above. At the very bottom of the organization,
workers have virtually no power. Since most organizations today have fewer
layers than they previously had, the competition for power has become more

ii. Subjective standards of performance: People often resort to organizational

politics because they do not believe that the organization has an objective and fair
way of judging their performance and suitability for promotion. Similarly, when
managers have no objective way of differentiating effective people from the less
effective, they will resort to favoritism.

iii. Environmental uncertainty and turbulence: When people operate in an unsta-

ble and unpredictable environment, they tend to behave politically. They rely on
organizational politics to create a favorable impression because uncertainty
makes it difficult to determine what they should really be accomplishing. The
uncertainty, turbulence, and insecurity created by corporate mergers or
downsizing is a major contributor to office politics.

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iv. Emotional insecurity: Some people resort to political maneuvers to ingratiate
themselves with superiors because they lack confidence in their talents and skills.

v. Manipulative tendencies: Some people engage in political behavior because

they want to manipulate others, sometimes for their own personal advantage.


To make effective use of organizational politics, leaders must be able to make appropriate use
of specific political strategies and tactics. Remember that ethical behavior is regarded as an
important requirement for effective leadership.

Let's look at a representative group of political tactics and strategies, categorized in the
following two sections as ethical or unethical, although many of the strategies and tactics could
fall into either category, depending on motivations and methods of implementing them. Used
with tact, diplomacy, and good intent, ethical influence tactics can be quite effective.
Sequencing of tactics is another important consideration. In general, it is best to begin with the
most positive, or least abrasive, tactic. If you do not gain the advantage you seek, proceed to a
stronger tactic.

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3.10.1. Essentially Ethical Political Strategies and Tactics

This section describes a sampling of ethical political behaviors, divided into three related and
overlapping groups: strategies and tactics aimed at

 directly gaining power,

 building relationships with superiors and coworkers, and

 Avoiding political blunders. All of these approaches help a leader gain or retain
power. They also help the leader cope with the fact that organizations are not en-
tirely rational.

3.10.2. Strategies and Tactics Aimed Directly at Gaining Power

It could be argued that all political tactics are aimed at acquiring and maintaining power, if we
consider power in a broad scope.

i. Develop Power Contacts and Relationships: After powerful people have been
identified, alliances with them must be established. Cultivating friendly, cooperative
relationships with powerful organizational members and outsiders can make the leaders
because much easier to advance. These contacts can benefit a person by supporting his
or her ideas in meetings and other public forums. One way to develop these contacts is
to be more social, for example, throwing parties and inviting powerful people, although
they may not be available.

ii. Make an Early Showing: A display of dramatic results can help gain acceptance for
one's efforts. Once a person has impressed management with his or her ability to solve
an important problem, that person can look forward to working on problems that will
bring greater power.

iii. Keep Informed: It is politically important to keep informed. Successful leaders develop
a network to help them keep abreast, or ahead, of developments within the firm. For
this reason, a politically astute individual befriends key staff members and executive
administrative assistants, for example.

iv. Control Vital Information: Power accrues to those who control vital information. For
example, many former government or military officials have found power niches for

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themselves in industry as a Washington representative of a firm that does business with
the government. The vital information they control is knowledge of whom to contact to
shorten some of the complicated procedures in getting government contracts approved.

v. Control Lines of Communication: Related to controlling information is controlling

lines of communication, particularly access to key people. Administrative assistants and
staff assistants frequently control an executive's calendar. Both insiders and outsiders
must curry favor with the conduit in order to see an important executive. Although
many people attempt to contact executives directly through email, some executives
delegate the responsibility of screening email messages to an assistant.

3.10.3. Strategies and Tactics Aimed at Building Relationships

Much of organizational politics involves building positive relationships with network members
who can be helpful now or later. This network includes superiors, subordinates, other lower-
ranking people, coworkers, external customers, and suppliers. The following are several
representative strategies and tactics:

i. Provide Favors and Develop Ingratiation: A skillful leader always has a positive
balance of favors given, and can draw on that balance when something is needed in

ii. Display Loyalty: A loyal worker is valued because organizations prosper more with loyal
than with disloyal employees. Blind loyalty--the belief that the organization cannot
make a mistake--is not called for; most rational organizations welcome constructive
criticism. An obvious form of loyalty to the organization is longevity, although its value

iii. Develop a Reputation as a Subject Matter Expert: Expertise is one of the major
sources of power. Others come to and ask help from an expert.

iv. Rational Persuasion: Using this form of influence helps create an impression that you
are reasonable and fair, and also avoids creating resentment that can result from heavy-
handed influence tactics.

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v. Bring in Outside Experts for Support: To help legitimate their positions, executives
will often hire a consultant to conduct a study or cast an opinion. One possible problem
to avoid is that, consciously or unconsciously, some consultants may slant things to
support the executive's position. This tactic would be considered unethical if the exec-
utive is intentionally seeking a non-objective opinion.


A strategy for retaining power is to refrain from making power-eroding blunders. Committing
such politically insensitive acts can also prevent one from attaining power. Several leading
blunders to avoid are described next.

i. Embarrassing or criticizing the boss in a public forum: One of the oldest saws in
human relations is to "praise in public and criticize in private." Yet, in a moment of
anger or stupidity, we may blurt out something that can be costly.

ii. Surprising the boss: Surprises, particularly negative ones, are not appreciated.

iii. Bypassing the boss: Protocol is still highly valued in a hierarchical organization. Going
around the boss to resolve a problem is therefore hazardous. You might be able to
accomplish the bypass, but your career could be damaged and your recourses limited.

iv. Declining an offer from top management: Turning down top management, especially
more than once, is a political blunder. You thus have to balance your other interests
against the blunder of refusing a request from someone powerful in the organization.
An increasing number of managers and professionals today decline opportunities for
promotion when the new job requires geographic relocation. For these individuals,
family and lifestyle preferences are more important than gaining political advantage
on the job.

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Any technique of gaining power can be unethical if practiced in the extreme and with negative
intentions. For example, a person who supports a boss by feeding him or her insider information
that could affect the price of company stock is being unethical. Some approaches are almost
unequivocally unethical, such as the described next. In the long run they can erode a leader's
effectiveness by lowering his or her credibility.

i. Back Stabbing: The ubiquitous back stab requires that you pretend to be nice, but all the
while plan someone's demise. A frequent form of back stabbing is to initiate a
conversation with a rival about the weaknesses of a common boss, encouraging
negative commentary and making careful mental notes of what the person says. When
these comments are passed along to the boss, the rival appears disloyal and foolish.
Email has become a medium for back stabbing.

ii. Purge All But Loyalists: The ancient strategy of purge those you have conquered
suggests that you remove from the organization rivals who suffered past hurts through
your efforts; otherwise the wounded rivals might retaliate at a vulnerable moment.

iii. Set a Person Up for Failure: The object of a setup is to place a person in a position
where he or she will either fail outright or look ineffective. For example, an executive
whom the CEO dislikes might be given responsibility for a troubled division whose
market is rapidly collapsing. The newly assigned division president cannot stop the
decline and is then fired for poor performance.

iv. Exert Undue Pressure: Even if you have the power to do this, it would be unethical if
used to further your interests at the expense of others.

3.13 A CAVE

There is a danger when becoming sensitized to political behavior that one begins to see
everything as political, to develop a Machiavellian interpretation that suggests that everyone is
trying to outwit and outmaneuver everyone else. We begin to see politics everywhere, and to
look for hidden agendas even where there are none. Rather than use politics to generate new

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insights and understandings that can help deal with divergent interests, there is a temptation to
reduce the concept to a tool to be used to advance our own personal interests.



Exhibit I: Cognitive Management Styles in Organizational Life

Although necessary, organizational politics can hurt an organization and its members when
carried to excess. Too much politicking can result in lower morale, higher turnover, and wasted
time and effort, thereby lowering performance. To avoid these negative consequences, leaders
should combat political behavior when it is excessive and dysfunctional. Some steps that can
help accomplish this follow.

i. To control politics, organizational leaders must be aware of its causes and techniques.
For example, during a downsizing, the CEO can be on the alert for instances of back
stabbing and transparent attempts to please him or her.

ii. Open communication also can constrain the impact of political behavior. For instance,
open communication can let everyone know the basis for allocating resources, thus
reducing the amount of political behavior. When communication is open, it also makes
it more difficult for some people to control information and pass along gossip as a
political weapon.

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iii. Avoiding favoritism is a potent way of minimizing politics within a work group. If group
members believe that getting the boss to like them is much less important than good job
performance in obtaining rewards, they will try to impress the boss through task-related

iv. Setting good examples at the top of the organization can help reduce the frequency and
intensity of organizational politics. When leaders are nonpolitical in their actions, they
demonstrate in subtle ways that political behavior is not welcome. It may be helpful for
the leader to announce during a staff meeting that devious political behavior is
undesirable and unprofessional.

v. Goal correspondence is another way of reducing the extent of political behavior is for
individuals and the organization to have goal correspondence, i.e., share the same
goals, with thorough understanding of what they mean. If political behavior will
interfere with the company and individuals achieving their goals, workers with goal
congruence are less likely to play office politics excessively.

vi. That organization structure is an instrument rather than an end means that a
structure should be established or modified quickly instead of stringing out
deliberations as though there actually exists a best and single solution for the problem
of allocating power.

vii. That organization structure is a product of negotiation means the more the power
base of an executive is his demonstrated competence, the greater his autonomy of power
and therefore capacity to determine the outcome in the allocations of power.

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i. Unemployment: Organizations affect by bad internal politics is the cause of
unemployment and unequal distribution of wealth. The procedure of recruitment is
controlled by the most influential political group in the organization, the concept of
merit and effectiveness cannot be achieved.

ii. Loss of Ultimate Goal: The goal set by authority in formation of organization is hurt
by organizational politics. Mostly in public organization the purpose of public welfare
can’t be achieved under the influence of personal interest groups.

iii. Performance Pressure and Stress: The individuals play politics when they are
enforced with high performance pressure. The politics playing in the organization
becomes measure to pressurize authority to withdraw control and lower the
performance target. This will result in many mental illnesses and affect the health of
stakeholders of organization.

iv. Pessimism Use of Resources: Organizational successes depend upon resources and
assets it possesses. When these resources are mismanaged the objective which
organization is trying to achieve becomes harder. Bad politics and absence of harmony
within organization leads to unbeneficial use of scarce resources.

v. Demotivation: Individuals need a safe and encouraging environment to render their

skills and work. The performance of organization is the key indicator for ensuring this
environment but when organization depicts the picture of uncertainty and chaos
individuals are demotivated to work there.


i. Decrease in Overall Productivity

 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.

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 They are more interested in leg pulling and back biting. They spend most of their
times criticizing their fellow workers.

ii. Affects Concentration

 Individuals find it difficult to concentrate on their work. 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.

iii. Spoils the Ambience

 Politics leads to a negative environment at the workplace.

 It spoils the relationships amongst individuals. An individual playing politics at the

organization is disliked by all.

iv. Changes the Attitude of Employees

 Politics changes the attitude of the employees.

 Even the serious employees lose interest in work and attend office just for the sake
of it.

 Internal politics do not allow employees to give their hundred percent at work.

v. Demotivated Employees

 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

 Employees feel demotivated when they are not rewarded suitably or someone who
has not worked hard gets the benefits due to mere politics.

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vi. Increases Stress

 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.

vii. Wrong Information

 Employees indulged in politics manipulate information and it is never passed on in

its desired form.

 Superiors get a wrong picture of what is actually happening in the organization.

 A wrong person walks away with the credit in an organization where employees
are indulged in politics.


 Ability to make strategic replacements
 Ability to exhibit confidence
 Controlling access to persons and information
 Formation of a winning coalition
 Ability to develop expertise and build personal stature
 Restriction of communication about actual intentions
 The use of a research data to buttress one’s point of view


 Provision of sufficient resources
 Introducing clear rules
 Measuring performance and not personalities
 Hiring of low-politics employees
 Increasing opportunities for dialogue

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 Allow free flow information and open communication

Politics are those activities that are not a part of an individual’s formal role in the organization,
but affect the advantages and disadvantages with the organization. Organizational politics is
the influence to obtain results not allowed by the organization or to obtain allowed results with
the help of means that are not allowed. Power and politics is removed from the organization
through accountability.
Despite the fact that power and political behavior may be destructive and highly unethical, it
can also be constructively used to achieve certain goals and objectives in the organization, and
also create a balance in a diverse set of interests.
For an organization to be highly productive, there should be a balance in the use of power and
politics in achieving organizational goals and objectives and these include giving independence
to employees to make decisions, compensating employees who put in effective performance in
their works and making them (those who put in effective performance) to oversee other
employees whilst also developing a political system straightforward for employees to

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