Saturday, March 20, 2010

Politics, power and game

“There is lot of politics in this organization.” During my initial periods, I use to hear this statement in every organization on my first day with those organizations. As you grow in your career, you come to know about politics and then nobody says it to you. You yourself try to understand the organization from your own perspective.

Power and politics are ever-present and necessary features of organizational life. Without them, much of what gets done in organizations could never be accomplished. However, power can also be abused, and personal or political goals can overshadow organizational ones.

It involves the pursuit of individual agendas and self-interest in an organization without regard to their effect on the organization's efforts to achieve its goals. Everybody has his own agenda. Most of the time insecurity plays important role in politics. In one of my earlier organizations, I had a senior person who was very political. He was working in the organization for almost 20 years. He used to call employees, mostly female employees on odd times for getting the information about colleagues. His way of working was extra-constitutional. In fact he was able to create the image of saviour in the organization, in reality he was not. He had created the network of moles and messengers in the organization. Off course all were cheerleaders. He tried to spoil the career of many talented people. This can be the extreme example how the politics should not be. I started to challenge him on his decisions.

Organizations are not rational systems. Rather, organizations are coalitions composed of varied individuals and interest groups that engage in on-going contests for control. Here one thing is sure that "objective facts," are interpreted by employees who view things from their own perspective.

However by this way of working, employees become manipulative and it affects the culture. Culture is created by such interpretations. You can call it dirty politics where an individual forces his own agenda and ignores organizational benefit. People suffers and he gains, everything power and position, but not for long time. The end is here only.

However politics is not a grubby word. Such people made it grubby. When we can not live without it, we should learn to live with it. Whenever I joined new organization, I learnt the different aspects of politics in organizations. Every human being is political. He is not strength forward. He knows where to act and where to react.

When the politics is for the benefit of the organization and masses, it can not be bad. After all you need to be diplomatic. However it is very difficult for others to make the judgment on political scale. It is very subjective and there is thin line between politics and diplomatic (or dirty politics and politics). It is purely the intention of the person in command. People sometimes get the power due to politics. Such people then play a major role in creating worst culture in the organizations. However when the harmful politics comes into the picture, it is the role of HR to kill it. Sometimes most of the HR professionals themselves are the part of politics.

Do we, HR professionals dare to challenge this dirty politics? Do we have courage to go to the top boss and tell him about this?


Unknown said...

keep orgn.goal in focus leave politics 2 somebody else transparency must be at its best

Neha Mehta said...

Guts? who doesn't have? The point is, whether the top boss is himself going to be totally unbiased about listening and giving a thoughtful ear that something seriously is going wrong under his purview? Politically correct aint it?

YogeshHukame said...

Politics is an art to be learnt to improve and achieve the organisational goals.If used for personal agenda then it is bad.

Anonymous said...

I believe Politics and power has a different grounds to play. but in reality they are in every organization. Its good not to get involved with it ( Being transparent) but still be informed. It takes time to eliminate dirty politics but there is a way through cultural change and movement of few elements.

Ramesh Aiyer said...

In fact HR people (oldies IR guys) are more political. In one company, on first day of the Induction GM- HR & Admn (who was closed to MD) was cursing VP- HR. I was demotivated by his attitude. After VP lefet and he became the incharge. This is very demotivating. IF HR is palying the politics what should we do?

Unknown said...

Power and Politics go Hand in Hand. HR people are the best people to effectively and positively exploit the politics to catalize the cultural changes and benefit the organization.However, its a double edged sword so one needs to be an expert and in effective position in organization to get the right result.

Megha Kapil.

Subhash Patil said...

We should not involved such dirty game which is harmful to organistion.
H.R. professional should focus on the organistional goals.

Subhash Patil

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