Academic journal article International Journal of Management and Innovation

Living with Organizational Politics: An Exploration of Employee's Behavior

Academic journal article International Journal of Management and Innovation

Living with Organizational Politics: An Exploration of Employee's Behavior

Article excerpt


There is a bit of Machiavelli in every one of us. An environment where everyone agrees with each other is a rare phenomenon. People are generally favorably biased towards people they know, like and trust, even when they are trying to be impartial. Being a self-centered animal, some aspects of office politics has become a part of human existence. It simply reflects the reality of human nature and interaction.

Politics is often regarded as a fact of life in organizations. The premise that every organization is composed of people who have varied task, career, and personal interests (Morgan, 1998) allows us to understand an organization as a political entity. "The idea of politics stems from the view, where interests are divergent, society should provide means of allowing individuals to reconcile their differences through consultation and negotiation" (p. 149). Pfeffer (1981) defines organizational politics as "those activities carried out by people to acquire, enhance, and use power and other resources to obtain their preferred outcomes in a situation where there is uncertainty or disagreement" (pp. 4-5). In this sense, the meaning of politics in an organization is conceptualized as the exercise of power to negotiate different interests among members while maintaining one's interests in certain organizational issues.

The importance of organizational politics lies in its potential consequences and effect on work outcomes. Theoretical arguments suggest that politics often interferes with normal organizational processes (e.g., decision making, promotion, and rewards) and damages productivity and performance at individual and organizational levels.

This paper discusses the experiences of the employees and their survival strategies while working in a politically influenced environment. The information is based on the perception and experiences of the employees associated with three different automobile manufacturing companies in Western India and are able to take a micro-view from the participants themselves in an effort to ease out causal factors that have an impact on the employees while living in such an environment. It explores how prevalence of politics in the Indian organization affects employee's psychology, ultimately resulting in poor performance. Many of these themes have been explored from a macro-perspective, (Harris, K. J., et al., 2007; Rosen, C. C., et al., 2006; Harris, K. J., & Kacmar, K. M., 2005; Treadway, D. C., et al., 2005), but international studies of this type from the micro-perspective, although they have been done, (Ferris, G. R. et al., 2002), are much rarer.

Hence, the objective of this study is to bring out the experiences that the employees face and their coping strategies while working in an environment that is politically influenced in the Indian context.


The literary discourse regarding organizational politics began in the 1970's with a focus on aspects of power and bureaucracy in the work place specifically focused on management and leadership (Drory & Romm, 1988).

There is a growing acknowledgment that politics plays a prominent role in organizational policies and processes and is likely to influence several important work-related attitudes and behaviors. For example, perceptions of organizational politics have been found to be related to increased job anxiety (Anderson, 1994; Cropanzano, Howes, Grandey, & Toth, 1997), reduced job satisfaction (Ferris, Frink, Bhawuk, Zhou, & Gilmore., 1996a; Ferris, Frink, Galang, Zhou, Kacmar, & Howard., 1996b; Ferris & Kacmar, 1992; Nye & Witt, 1993), reduced satisfaction with supervisor (Drory, 1993; Ferris et al., 1996b), and increased intent to turnover (Cropanzano et al., 1997). Additionally, research suggests that individuals who perceive high levels of organizational politics also are likely to enact political behavior themselves (Ferris, Harrell-Cook, & Dulebohn, 2000), thereby creating a self-perpetuating cycle. …

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