Can one ever really manage organisational politics? Such politics are inevitable in the corporate workplace where competition is part and parcel of working life. Take away the underlying competition, and substitute an environment where workers can collaborate fully instead, and where the perks and rewards are equally distributed, and the anxiety and politics will be reduced, because there will be no scarce resources to compete for. Workers would have a greater sense of purpose, solidarity and security.
Politics come out of the desire to carve a niche for one's self, to stay ahead of the game, for territory, recognition and status, and to be always a significant part of the picture. Politics is a crucial by-product of the desire to feel significant and rewarded for one's efforts where only a few people can achieve such desirables, as well as the overriding need for security to preserve one's lifestyle and possessions. In short, to ensure that one does not lose out where it matters most.
As we are talking about the ambitions and anxieties of individuals, which then create the politics of survival, it would be difficult to manage such politics, especially where unpredictable individuals are concerned, and jealousy and envy can be rife! One could say that the only way to manage workplace politics is simply to lessen the competition, take the focus off having to prove one's self continuously, and help workers to feel more valued, appreciated and included with a stake/ownership in whatever they are doing. It would be a very different atmosphere but, sadly, it is unlikely to happen in a capitalist environment which requires the most highly skilled individuals to ensure the bottom line.
©Elaine Sihera (Ms CYPRAH) 2011
Emotional Health and People Management Consultant
"Respect and love begin with the self. If we have none, how can we give away any?"