Politics and Power in Organizations: Business Management

Essay by binks06College, UndergraduateB, December 2006

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Recently it appears that every organization utilizes the power and politics game. Power and politics have been used in situations as large as massive takeovers, or in a small business by employees wanting to gain entities. The concept of power and politics is that it is not a tool used by management, but the game can be played by all in an organization. Different types of power and politics are used in many organizations and the uses effect each organization in a variety of ways whether the goal is positive or negative.

Organizational politics can be discussed from two approaches, the first being a Machiavellian perspective, which is negatively perceived as a 'take no prisoners' attitude with a goal of attainment of power at all costs. The second approach "treats politics as a necessary function resulting from differences in the self-interests of individuals" and as "the art of creative compromise among competing interests" (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005).

Individuals join organizations as a means to serve their own interests. Politics is simply a way to harmoniously coexist within the organization, thus avoiding discourse over whose needs and interests are more important. University of Phoenix rEsource text states, "Organizational politics is also the use of power to develop socially acceptable ends and means that balance individual and collective interests" (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005).

An increasingly more popular trend in organizations is the concept of empowerment, which is the process by which managers' help employees acquire and use the power needed to make decisions affecting themselves and their work. The major three forms of empowerment are, individual empowerment, team empowerment, and self-directed work teams.


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