Organizational Politics, Justice, and Support: Managing the Social Climate of the Workplace

By Russell S. Cropanzano; K. Michele Kacmar | Go to book overview

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The Social Setting of Work Organizations: Politics, Justice, and Support

Russell S. Cropanzano, K. Michele Kacmar, and Dennis P. Bozeman

This is a book about social life at work. In essence, it is about how people treat each other, and how that treatment impacts organizations and the people that form organizations. It seems appropriate for us to begin this venture by first considering the essential nature of a business firm. We often hear that an organization consists of people coordinating their activities in order to accomplish some common goal (for a discussion and critique of this view, see Weick, 1979). Usually this goal entails producing a product or delivering a service. Unfortunately, such a simple view is largely illusory. Goals are only "common" in a very loose sense. We can grasp this point more fully by example than by definition.

Consider the case of an entrepreneur who devises a new product. Let's say that this particular entrepreneur has begun building improved stereo speakers out of her garage. At first our entrepreneur personally conducts all of the manufacturing. She produces this product largely out of a love for her work, plowing profits back into materials and equipment, and ultimately pursuing the goal of a better (and then still better) speaker. If she is a fortunate entrepreneur her business will thrive, and she may eventually find herself as a shop floor supervisor with several employees.

Now consider how the situation has changed. The entrepreneur, now the owner of a successful small business, still has the goal of a better speaker. However, as a means to achieving that goal she must also attend to the well-being of her employees. The employees, on the other hand, have a goal of enhancing their well-being, perhaps through higher pay and better benefits. As a means of achieving that goal, they will want to produce a better speaker, at least to the extent that a better speaker translates into better business and more profits for them.

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