Management is necessarily a political process'

Essay by master493University, Bachelor's December 2004

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'Management is necessarily a political process'. Explain and critically evaluate this view. Use examples from reading and/or personal experience.


Traditionally management was viewed as a relatively black and white process in which decisions were taken to control the organisation. However, in more recent times it has become recognised that management is a more complex activity involving the persuasion of individuals to certain viewpoints in order to perform various tasks on behalf of the organisation. It is well known that humans do not necessarily follow direct logical paths and influencing them involves skills that would be generally described as an art rather than a science. In fact elements of these art skills could be described as political processes.

To address this topic I have taken a two pronged approach. Firstly I have examined the definitions of management as perceived by various academics over the years. Secondly I have tried to illustrate the use of politics in varying organisational cultures with reference to my own personal experience.


In order to avoid meaningless semantic argument one first has to understand what is meant by 'management' and 'political process'. Therefore we shall first take a look at the definitions of these terms.

The Concise English Dictionary (1984) includes the definition of politics as 'prudent and sagacious as well as crafty, scheming and artful'. This implies politics as having both well meaning characteristics in addition to another more sinister side. Political processes tend to take place in democracies where no single body has absolute power. To determine the best way forward groups of individuals with differing views compete to have their ideas adopted as policy. The political process consists of constructive debate and argument between these groups followed by some form of voting system to identify which view has the majority support. During...