Organizations as Political Systems
Knowledge without power is of remarkably little use. And power without the skill to employ it effectively is likely to be wasted.
-- Pfeffer ( 1992, p. 47)
Simply stated, politics is what takes place in the space between the perfect workings of the rational model (efficiency) and the messiness of human interaction.
-- Ferris and King ( 1991, p. 60)
Most of us know the Red Cross as a first-on-the-scene disaster relief agency, lending a hand during floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes. The Red Cross also provides less dramatic, ongoing services to local communities in the form of programs such as those that aid the victims of single-family disasters, provide lifeguard training, provide medical help for the homeless, or offer classes in baby-sitting. The following case study, from the public affairs director of a Red Cross agency, vividly illustrates the quotes at the beginning of this chapter.
Like many charitable organizations, the Red Cross is a national organization that has a national office and numerous local and regional