The Dark Side of Organizational Behavior

By Ricky W. Griffin; Anne M. O'Leary-Kelly | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
The Dark Side of
Politics in Organizations

Angela T. Hall, Wayne A. Hochwarter, Gerald R. Ferris, Michael G. Bowen

Abstract: Organizational scientists have tended to investigate work-
place politics as a negative phenomenon. Here, we examine this per-
spective, exploring the underlying reasons that have led scholars to
assume that political behavior results in negative experiences for
individuals and organizations. In this effort, we contend that work-
place politics may be perceived negatively because political behav-
ior impedes or obstructs rational decision making and blurs the
relationship between effort and subsequent reward. Moreover,
highly politicized environments also make psychological investment
risky in that individuals are not as likely to commit emotional
resources if it is perceived that the organization will not value their
contributions. We also point out that most operational definitions
of work politics fail to consider the neutral, or even beneficial, out-
comes of political behavior, instead focusing almost exclusively on
destructive manifestations of politics. Finally, we propose avenues
for future research and suggest that exploring the positive, nega-
tive, and the neutral aspects of politics is a necessary step toward
understanding the broader aspects and contributions of political
behavior to organizational life.

It's not what you know; it's who you know!

—POPULAR ADAGE

-237-

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