For as long as there has been industry, there has been office politics. Love it or hate it one cannot ignore it. It is an intrinsic part of any organization regardless of its size, location or structure.
Some salient points to ponder over are:
- The need for it
If there ever was a reason for human beings to indulge in office politics, it is Control. A manger will try to manipulate his subordinates to wield greater control over them and a CEO will try to find some point of leverage over his managers for the same reason. In this regard, as is obvious to most of us, information is power. The right bit of information can go a long way in serving the interests of an office politician.
- The many uses for it
While most might disagree, office politics does have its uses. When properly implemented, the right mindgames, the transfer of information about one individual to another by a third person, and other unmentionable practices can prove beneficial not just to an individual but also to the efficient functioning of a company. Case in point is when workers manipulate each other to make use of shared resources such as a network printer.
- The dangers of it
When office politics reaches a level where unscrupulous individuals are exploiting multiple employees for their own vested interests, things can go very bad, very quickly. This is especially true when issues of gender bias, sexual harassment or bribery are involved.
Thus, it makes very good sense for any company to discourage all forms of office politics. While it is obvious that unless a dictatorial management exists this is not possible, it should at the very least and should be very closely monitored. In this regard, a lot also depends upon the corporate ethos an individual develops over time and this is where the importance of open door policies, focus group sessions and other group activities in office come in handy so that individuals with such an attitude get to speak openly and even voice their grievances.