Limiting Effects of Political Behavior

Obviously, the strategies (discussed previously) are only representative, not exhaustive of the many possible politically based strategies for acquiring power in organizations.

Perhaps even more than in the case of many of the other topics covered in the text, there is little research backup for these ideas on power and, especially, politics.

There is also a call for a framework and guidelines to evaluate the ethics of power and politics in today’s organizations. This ethical concern goes beyond the notions of success or effectiveness.

For example, of the ten most unethical activities one study identified, three are directly political such as:

  • Making arrangements with vendors for the purpose of personal gain;
  • Allowing differences in pay based on friendships; and
  • Hiring, training, and promoting personal favorites rather than those who are most qualified.

It is because of the dysfunctional consequences of politics, efforts need to be made to minimize its effect.

The five main strategies for the purpose are:

Limiting Effects of Political Behavior

  • Open communication,
  • Reduction of uncertainty
  • Awareness,
  • Be a good role model, and
  • Watch game players.

Open Communication

Open communication is the most effective at limiting political behavior.

It can clarify the expected procedures for allocating scarce resources and, therefore, reduce the proclivity of people to become involved in political maneuvering. Open communication can also limit the ability of a person or coalition to control information and the channels of communication.

The Reduction of Uncertainty

It removes a number of primary causes of political behavior, including ambiguous goals, non-programmable decisions, technology, unstable environments, and organizational change.

Creating Awareness

Creating, awareness within the organization can limit political behaviors.

Being aware of the causes and consequences will help organizational members resist temptations of resorting to political maneuvering.

Be a Good Role Model

It is well established that role models, high-level personnel, set the standards by which, lower-level employees operate. Political activities by managers make their subordinates indulge in similar behaviors.

Managers will find it difficult to constrain the political actions of their subordinates unless they set a clear example of hones and reasonable treatment of others in their own behavior.

Watching Game Players

Watching game players and correcting them immediately is yet another way of minimizing the effect of political behavior.

If a subordinate is found indulging in any unethical political behavior, he or she must be confronted and be told that such an act would not be tolerated. Winking at such an act is a sure way of encouraging the individual to repeat the political tricks.

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