A Psychological Appraisal of Perceived Organizational Politics in Selected Profit and Non-Profit Organizations in Lagos Metropolis, Nigeria

By Arogundade, Odunayo T. | Ife Psychologia, March 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

A Psychological Appraisal of Perceived Organizational Politics in Selected Profit and Non-Profit Organizations in Lagos Metropolis, Nigeria


Arogundade, Odunayo T., Ife Psychologia


Organizational politics is a global phenomenon that has potential of influencing the work outcomes of employees. Studies have shown that workplaces are inherently political arena where success is achieved on the bases of interpersonal relationships and effectiveness (Bodla, Danish, & Nawaz, 2012; Zinko, Ferris, Blass, & Laird, 2007; Mintzberg, 1985).

Human resources in workplaces operate in complex systems comprising competing goals, value and motives. The ability of an employee to effectively influence within and across the system is central to his or her overall success. Thus, there are tendencies for employees to compete for resources, power and positions as well and engage in acts directed at influencing those who can provide rewards that will help promote or protect their self interest, a condition referred to as organizational politics (Karmal & Carlson, 1997; Molm, 1997).

According to Vigoda and Cohen (2002), Politics in organizations is a manifestation of the dynamism of workplace which impacts all expect of business life. Social scientists have established that organization is social entity that is made up of three basic elements namely: first, employees from diverse background, attitudes and personality traits; second, goals inform of aims and objectives set out to be achieved by the organization and third, systematic structures that defines limits of each member of the organization (Butcher & Clarke, 2001; Andrews, Kacmar & Harris, 2009).

Organizational politics is defined as 'social influence attempts directed at those who can provide rewards that will help promote or protect the self interests of the actor' (Kacmar & Carison 1997, p 657). According to Valle and Witt (2001) organizational politics involves actions that are (a) inconsistent with acceptable organizational norms (b) designed to promote self-interest and (c) taken without regards for and even at the expense of organizational goals. This definition of organization politics was supported by Drory (1993) who noted that organizational politics is made up of behavior that occur on an informal basis within the organization with a motive of influencing or protecting individual's professional careers when conflicting courses of action are possible.

However, perception of organizational politics represents the degree to which employees view their works environment as political in nature, promoting the self interest of others and thereby acting unjust and unfair in organizational decisions. According to Gull and Zaidi, (2012) Perception involves the process where individuals make meaning of their environment by understanding and managing their sensory impressions. Thus, employees react to stimuli in accordance with what they derive from their sensory impressions. The perception of organizational politics therefore represents the extent or degree to which an employee view the work environment as political and therefore unfair or unjust (Ferrris, Russ & Fandt, 1989) Studies have shown that organizational politics often interfere with normal work place processes which include compensational management, promotion, transfer and other managerial decisions (Vigod, 2000) and the outcome could be detrimental to the organization (Kacmar & Ferri, 1997). Furthermore, Ogungbamila (2013) noted that organizational politics may have both beneficial or detrimental outcomes on the organization and other employees. Some of the beneficial outcomes organizational politics include career advancement, promotion, recognition and sense of belonging while the negative outcomes could include rivalry, unhealthy competitions, conflicts, violence unfairness and perceived injustice in workplace.

Theoretical arguments stipulated that politics in organization often interfere with normal day to day running of organizations such as promotion, transfer, and other decision making processes as well as inhibits performance and productivity of employees (Vigoda, 2000). …

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