More than 40 years ago, Harold Lasswell (1936) defined politics as “the study of who gets what, when and how”. Certainly who gets what, when, and how are issues of fundamental importance in understanding formal organizations. Nevertheless, organizational politics and power are both topics which are made conspicuous by their absence in management and organization literature. Therefore, power and politics in an organization can now be defined as the management of influence to obtain ends not sanctioned ends through non-sanctioned influence means.
The issue of whether or not organizational politics negatively impacts performance requires a specification of the dimensions that are to be used in evaluating organizational performance.
For our purposes, performance in an organization refers to any of the standard indicators of organizational well-being, including profit in the case of a business firms and the ability to get projects completed and within budget with respect to non-profit organizations.
Making organizations more innovative, responsive and responsible requires focusing on a number of leadership, power and influence issues.
These issues are critical in coping with the strategic environmental with all its characteristics and strategic leader performance in that environment. The issues influence developing teams at the strategic level as well as managing organizational processes linked to values and ethnics, organizational culture, visioning and the management of change, such issues include;
• Implementing strategic or adaptive change in the face of formidable resistance. • Fostering entrepreneurial and creative behaviour despite strong opposition. • Gaining resources and support from bosses whose personal agenda might include organizational harmful political games. • Avoiding destructive adversarial relationships with others whose help and cooperation are paramount to your success, but who are outside your chain of command and your direct control.
• Building and developing an effective teams in an internal environment where the natural tendency is to conflict with each other. • Fostering organizational excellence, innovation and creativity, and not getting mired in bureaucratic politics or dysfunctional power conflicts. For most leaders in an organization, the key to successful implementing organizational change and improving long term performance rests with the leader’s skill in knowing how to make power dynamics work for the organizational, instead of against it.
In John Gardner’s power in organization’s he wrote about leadership and power in organizations, notes, “of course leaders are preoccupied with power! The significant questions are: what means do they use to gain it? How much do they exercise it? ” To what ends do they exercise it? He further states, “Power is the basic energy needed to intimate and sustain action or, to put it another way, the capacity to translate intention into reality and sustain it”.
Power is the opportunity to build, to create, to nudge history in a different direction. The concept of organizational politic can be linked to Harold Lasswell’s (1936) where politics involves the exercise of power to get something done, as well as to enhance and protect the vested interests of individuals or groups. Thus, the use of organizational politics suggests that political activity is used to overcome resistance and implies a conscious effort to organize activity to challenge opposition in a priority decision situation.
Because of scarce resources and enduring differences, conflict is central to organizational dynamics and power is the most important resource. Conflict is more likely in under bounded systems (less regulation and control) in an over bounded system with power concentrated to the top. Jeffories makes the point that organizations play the political game within the broader governmental context, but these individuals also play politics within organizations.
And power is key in both cases, because it confers the ability both to allocate resources- in itself a way to increase power and to consolidate power by bringing others with similar goals and objectives into the inner decision making core. Drummond, Helga asserted that organization diversity, interdependence, resource scarcity, and power dynamics will inevitably generate political forces regardless of the players. Organizational politics cannot be eliminated or fantasized away. Leaders with s healthy power motive can learn to understand and manage political processes in the organization.
Power in an organization is attractive because it confers the ability to influence decisions, about who gets want resources, what goals are pursued, what philosophy the organization adopts, and power also gives a sense of control over outcomes and may in fact convey such enhance control. In conclusion, the impact of politics and power cannot be over emphasized because it is the only means through which an organization can achieve it goals and objectives without being too personal.
SOURCES 1. Drummond, Helga (2000): introduction to Organizational Business. 2.Allen, R. W, & Porter, L. W. : Organizational politics and its effects on members. 3. Harold Lasswell: Organizational politics and its effects on members.
Organizational behaviour 4. David K. Banner: Designing effective organisations 5. Stephen Robbins: The Truth about Managing People and Nothing but the Truth. 6. Willie E. Hopkins: Aligning organizational subcultures for competitive advantage 7. Mishane and Von Glinow: Organisational behaviour 8. Kreitner and Kinicki: Organizational behaviour 9. Stephen J. Zaccaro: The Nature of Organizational Leadership.
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Impact of power and politics in organisations. (2017, Apr 23). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/impact-of-power-and-politics-in-organisations-essay