Organizational Politics

How can you cope up with Organizational Politics?


Organisational Politics, or Workplace Politics are terms often used to refer to the behaviour used by people to purse their own, or their groups’, interests, as opposed to the organisation’s interests and goals.

It involves informal attempts to promote their ideas, exert influence or achieve their own objectives, sometimes, although not always, for personal gain.

This process can either very unhelpful, or else extremely beneficial to the organisation, depending on who is trying to exert influence over what, and why. And of course, your own standpoint!

Dictionary definitions of politics include; –

  • the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power.
  • activities aimed at improving someone’s status or increasing power within an organization

So, politics will always be with us where there is authority, power and decision making involved.

Organizational Politics can be destructive, or it can help the company meet its goals. There are numerous examples in business of groups trying to exert influence over the executive strategy because they believe they have a better proposal than the management. And often enough, they did, and they managed to influence strategy for the good.

Often the reasoning behind such a movement will be related to issues such as shortage of resources, time pressure, fairness, equality, as well as personal gain. It is important to try to understand the drivers rather than just judge the behaviour.

Your question is- how to deal with it? That really depends on what “politicking “is going on, and your position relative to it.

You can ignore it, steer clear of any involvement, or you may prefer to align yourself with one of the groups. Or you could try to exert influence yourself, so becoming a player, or politician. Without knowing more about the situation, I can’t really advise any more.

Hope this has helped to put your problem into context