Political analysis of an organization

This section contains the readings for the course separated by themes.

Political analysis of an organization

The changes that are shaping the nature of work in today's complex organizations require that we develop the political will, expertise and personal skills to become more flexible, innovative and adaptive.

Without political awareness and skill, we face the inevitable prospect of becoming immersed in bureaucratic infighting, parochial politics and destructive power struggles, which greatly retard organizational initiative, innovation, morale and performance Kotter 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 environment with all its VUCA characteristics, and strategic leader performance requirements in that environment. The issues influence developing teams at the strategic level, as well as managing organizational processes linked to values and ethics, organizational culture, visioning and the management of change.

Implementing strategic or adaptive change in the face of formidable resistance.

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Fostering entrepreneurial and creative behavior despite strong opposition. Gaining resources and support from bosses whose personal agendas might include organizationally 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, and who may suspect your motives.

Building and developing effective teams in an internal environment where the natural tendency is to conflict with each other and engage in "turf battles".

Avoiding becoming a victim or casualty of destructive power struggles. Avoiding the numerous traps that generate power misuses and ultimately power loss. Fostering organizational excellence, innovation and creativity, and not getting mired in bureaucratic politics or dysfunctional power conflicts.

This chapter will not by itself change your view or way of acquiring power and effectively exercising influence. It does provide an opportunity to think differently about power, politics and influence, and it can refocus your attention on organizational issues and problems.

For strategic leaders in most organizations the key to successfully implementing organizational change and improving long term performance rests with the leader's skill in knowing how to make power dynamics work for the organization, instead of against it.

The significant questions are: What means do they use to gain it? How much do they exercise it? He further states, "Power is the basic energy needed to initiate 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.

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The concept of organizational politics can be linked to Harold Lasswell's definition of politics as who gets what, when and how. If power involves the employment of stored influence by which events, ac- tions and behaviors are affected, then 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.

The preceding discussion indicates that the concepts of power and organizational politics are related. Thus, in this chapter, we define organizational politics as the use of power, with power viewed as a source of potential energy to manage relationships.

The political frame is an excellent tool for examining the concept of organizational politics and makes a number of assumptions about organizations and what motivates both their actions and the actions of their decision makers.

Organizations are coalitions of individuals and interest groups, which form because the members need each others' support.

Political analysis of an organization

Through a negotiation process, members combine forces to produce common objectives and agreed upon ways to utilize resources thus aggregating their power. Power bases are developed that can accomplish more than individual forces alone. There are enduring differences among individuals and groups in values, preferences, beliefs, information, and perception of reality.

Such differences change slowly, if at all. Most of the important decisions in organizations involve allocation of scarce resources: Scarcity exacerbates political behavior.

In government at present, the competition is for personnel spaces and funding. Mission is the means to gain both, because resources tend to follow mission.

For this reason, the Services compete for strategic mission e. The two dominant political parties also attempt to present the American public with different views of what is significant.

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 at the top e.First, many authors, (Butler, Hickson, Wilson, & Axelson, ; Mayes & Allen, ; Tushman, ) have supported that organizations be viewed as political arenas or have provided a conceptual framework to permit such an approach.

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These calls for political . 2 Assumptions of the Human Resource Frame Organizations exist to serve human needs People and organizations need each other When the fit between individual and system is poor, one or both suffer A good fit benefits both Assumptions of the Political Frame Organizations are coalitions Enduring differences among coalition members Allocation of scarce resources.

As a result, a political-cultural analysis of an organization cannot take the volume of available data (e.g., the conscious accounts of organizational members, fables of organizational structure, types of core technologies, statements of beliefs and values) at face value.

Hierarchical level within the organization is also thought to influence perceptions of organizational politics because political behavior is traditionally perceived to be an upper management phenomenon, or even part of the job for high level managers (Drory, ).

The political analysis of an organization begins with the identification of the stakeholders “groups that have a shared ‘stake’ that is show more content The Business Units are made up of former engineers who at one point and probably still place some interest on prestige (Dynacorp Revisited, M-2, 86).

Organizational theories show the different questions on how an organization works. Markgraf (), “ organizations have structure, goals and members but focus on the efficiency of the organization, how it achieves its goals, how its environment affects its operations and how it survives in the face of outside challenges” (para.


Organizational, Political, and Personal Power by Christina Shen on Prezi