Organizations as Political Systems


Organizations could be considered as political systems, where the power relations make politicking the essential in organizations. Organizational politics are neatly woven into the management system. It is best described as the management influence to benefit personal interests. It involves the authenticity of the outputs and the used methods to attain them. Organizational politics require one to establish and bring together competing interests. This helps us to understand the ruling system in governments. This method of ruling instills discipline in the governments and organizations (Ratzburg, 2000). Understanding the management system in an organization will include the whole politics’ process. Key players in this process not only want to serve the interests of the organization but also their own specific wants and needs. It is best described as self-oriented and manipulative. This is clearly displayed in the ways these individuals serve the organization. Leadership to a big extent depends on the understanding of politics of the organization.

How Leadership depends on Understanding the Politics of the Organization. 

In Clements’s article, he describes the ways in which organizations like General Motors, IBM and Sears need organizational improvement. For an organization to improve it needs to focus on three aspects; this include the companies network, the leadership and the culture of the firm. The most important of the three is the organizational culture that is; the leadership role in dealing with the culture and the change that the culture needs to adjust. Apart from this core functions, the organization needs to establish an enabled organization power. It is well known that for an organization to excel, it needs to utilize its power and politics for its sustainability. This means that intelligence is a core need in the firm.

Organizational culture is one fundamental factor for organizational change. It is defined as the basic assumptions, values and artifacts. In most cases, we realize that some organizational values are taken for granted and so do certain circumstances. Artifacts include the common norms of the firm that are shadowed by new imposed ones (Clement, 2010). In order to work on the organizational changes, the organization must identify the existing culture, which is the leadership style. This is incorporated into the culture; hence, the way things are carried out in the organization. Leaders that have served the company longer are well versed with the knowledge and the general political system of the firm. In the case of GM and IBM, they both received pressure from the board members to allocate new managers for the leadership jobs. This can however be positive change or negative change depending on the network relationships that the new managers build with the other members. The formal authority structure builds up the organization. A new management team must learn to relate to the existing organizational politics through interactions. Leaders should use their advantage to attain and promote organizational interests.

On the other hand, assessing a firm’s culture may not necessarily mean changing the culture. New management does not necessarily involve the doing away with the existing culture but alternatively focusing on the customer requirements, the competitive environment and what the society expects from the organization. With flexible cultures, the three mentioned requirements could be met for the success of the organization. This means that organizations cannot make one believe to understand the rational decision-making processes so long as the political influences play a role in the development of the firm. It is important for the advantage not to be abused because most leaders exploit organizational politics for their own political ambition. The political intelligence is put to taste when the leaders are given the opportunity to change management. It is in their reaction that one is able to note their intelligence; most of the leaders will be drawn to many support groups and coalitions to support their goal.

It is important in an organizational environment, for the leaders and workers to promote the progressive culture instead of inside politics within the organizations. To promote the culture in the organization, there should be a team that deliberately focuses on the building of the core values, transparency in procedures and processes. It is important that the leaders utilize their authority to accomplish the needs of the people. Leaders must understand that organizational politics is a function of culture in establishing the goals for the organization (Clark, 1997)

Organizational politics may equally have its negative implications on the organization. Politics can be viewed in different realm, for example in an internal external dimension. In this case, it is most likely that this effect will have impacts in the organization for example, whistle blowing, and leaking of information. On an external perspective, it may include bypassing the chain of command, ignoring or postponing requests and deadlines. It is important that the organization invest in the employees, through non-portable trainings and skills. Employees that are interested in the long-term goal of the organization are not likely to be involved in the in politics because they focus on things that are more constructive. With the flow of time, most of the workers create relationships and friendships within themselves. This in itself is an assuring avenue, which builds up on the social and psychological investments. For a leader to be accepted he or she must be ready to appreciate the relationship networks and create dialogue with the interested groups within and without the organization, it is important for the leadership to realize that instead of politics taking precedence the progressive culture should be fundamental.




















Works Cited

Clark, Don. “Leadership Styles.” A Big Dog, Little Dog and Knowledge Jump Production, 11 May 1997. Web. 15 July 2011.


Clement, Ronald. “Culture, leadership, and power: the keys to organizational change.” BNET, 16 May 2010.Web.15 July 2011. <>

Ratzburg, Wilf. “Defining Organizational Politics.” OBNotes.HTM, 2 November 2000. Web. 15 July 2011.



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