Politics in an Organisation: Meaning & Significance

Power and politics are two factors that no company can afford to ignore. Corporate modernity and managerial specialization are often cited as factors in the demise of organizational politics. To assume, however, that even the most professionally run businesses are devoid of power structures and special interests are to be ignorant. Politics and political power have been around if people and history. No amount of wishful thinking can get rid of the natural human tendency to challenge and then try to impose established authority.

What is Politics?

Companies use organics, and it provides authority. Diverse interests exist in most human communities and attempt to use authority to influence organizational decision-making to produce them. Tushman defines politics as using power to establish an organization's goals, directions, and parameters. Miles defines organizational politics as when individuals or organizations use their authority to influence organizational choices. Drory and Romm described politics as self-influencing behavior. Powerful people use political power.

Alvin Toffler noted that internal authority rivalries, squabbling, and other conflicts are constant in businesses. Even the idea that the link between politics and power may be inverse has been put forth. For instance, a recent article targeted at practicing human resources (HR) managers emphasized that HR professionals who lack authority must utilize more politics in this period of competition for scarce resources. Politics and power are particularly interwoven. Understanding the complexities of organizational behavior requires a grasp of the political dynamics of power accumulation in modern organizations and a consideration of certain specific political techniques for acquiring power.

Many factors cause organizational politics. First, conflict. People desire power for work satisfaction, which leads to politics. Limited resources require power competition. Authority. Some people have discretionary power in emergencies. Organizational politics uses it. Third, organization-politics ambiguity Positions and authority cause politics. Interactions boost productivity. Politics advance. Political behavior develops when a worker's skills run out. Politicians are more imaginative than others. Creating a political culture boosts productivity. Workers discover answers and create better results with clear procedures and authority routes. Teamwork and equality lessen output conflicts. Negative, conflict-ridden companies fail. Productivity and turnover rates fall when employees engage in fraudulent or unethical behavior and favoritism overtakes work quality. Employees spend more time searching for solutions and fixing problems without clear policies and command structures.

Domain of Political Activity

It includes

  • Transformations

  • Departmental cooperation

  • Spending resource

  • Succession management

Politics arise in any institution that serves individuals. Using power and influence for personal benefit is organizational politics. Personalities, organizational evolution, inadequate resources, and uncertain situations all influence organizational politics. Political behavior becomes challenging when others' rights or needs are mistreated or organizational goals are denigrated.

Political Viewpoint on Organizational Power

Organizations, especially big ones, are much like government agencies because they constitute their core political entities. Understanding them requires an understanding of organizational politics. Organizational and political perspectives diverge from the utopian, logical model. By highlighting some of the glaring truths of political power, Walter Nord debunks some idealistic, logically organized, and humane organizational ambitions. To help people concentrate on the political realities, he offers four axioms of power in organizations

  • Coalitions that makeup organizations battle against one another for power, assets, and vitality.

  • Different coalitions will fight to defend their interests and power.

  • Power imbalances themselves have a dehumanizing effect.

  • One very important facet of the power exercised inside the wider social structure is the power exercised within organizations.

Politics can differ from organization to organization, even from one division of an organization, aside from the participants' ages. A thorough explanation based on the literature states that organizational politics is the deliberate use of power by people or groups when competing avenues of operation are present to advance or defend their interests. Numerous topics are pertinent to how political an organization is and have been the subject of organizational politics research. These include

  • Materials − The volume of diplomacy and how crucial and limited the resources are directly correlated. Politics will also be promoted when new, "unclaimed" resources are introduced.

  • Decisions − More politics results from decisions that could be clearer, easier to agree upon, and uncertain long-term strategic choices.

  • Goals − Goals that are unclear and complicated will generate more politics.

  • Technology and the Outside World − Organizations will generally have more political and complicated internal technology. The same holds for organizations that function amid unsettling environmental conditions and change

  • Change − Political scheming will be encouraged by reorganizations, deliberate organization development (OD) initiatives, or even spontaneous changes brought on by outside factors.

Most organizations in today's world satisfy these criteria for becoming very political. Thus, they only have small assets, make imprecise determinations, have complex but unclear goals, use increasingly complex technology, and go through rapid change. Organizations become more political due to the current environment, and the power struggle takes on more significance. The following political tactics were listed in another taxonomy

  • Information strategy-provides information to political decision-makers by lobbying them or offering positions or technical documents.

  • The use of monetary incentives, such as spoken emoluments or sponsored travel, to influence political decision-makers

  • Constituent support tactics, such as grassroots employee, supplier, or customer mobilization or public relations/press conferences, aim to influence political decision-makers ambiguously.


The methods presented are merely illustrative, not all-inclusive, of the several potential politically motivated methods for gaining organizational control. A stronger paradigm and rules are also needed to assess the morality of politics and power in today's organizations. Beyond the potential moral ramifications of authority and politics used excessively, dysfunctional outcomes include reduced morale, the creation of winners and losers, and the expenditure of time and effort on offense and counterattack preparation rather than on getting the work done. There is an indication that politics may significantly influence base pay and incentive pay considerations. At one company, political scheming and power disputes led to the demise of a gainsharing arrangement. Power dynamics are still changing. Additionally, these political actions go outside the conventional organizational limits in the current atmosphere.