Strategic Management: Formulation and Implementation

Organizational Politics

Power and politics are very closely related concepts. Alvin Toffler, the noted author of Future Shock, The Third Wave and, Powershift , observed that "companies are always engaged in internal political struggles, power struggles, infighting, and so on. That's normal life".

Political behavior occurs when legitimate authority cannot resolve disagreements. Politics is power in action or the process of acquiring and using power.

Jeffrey Pfeffer defines organizational politics as

"those activities taken within organizations to acquire, develop, and use power and other resources I to obtain one's preferred outcomes in a situation in which there is uncertainty or dissensus [disagreement] about choices ". A E Jeffrey Pfeffer, Power of Organizations

Politics consist of intentional, self interest, and nonconsensual activities of organizational members. Political activity is considered nonconsensual because it threatens the power and selfinterests of other organizational members who are involved.

Several authors have identified a variety of political tactics for gaining power in organizations. For example, Pfeffer's tactics include:

The Outside Expert
Managers cane exert power in I organization in areas in which they have recognized legitimacy and expertise. For instance, many top I management teams, hire expensive consultants to legitimate decisions that have already been reached and to provide an aura of rationality to the decisions process.
Controlling the Agenda
Another ways of exercising influence in organizations is controlling the agenda of group of meetings. Instead of hiring experts to support one's view of organization; it may be easier and less risky to keep the reorganization issues from arising in the first place.
Coalition building means taking the time to talk with other managers to persuade them to your point of view. An important aspect of coalition building is to build good relationship.
Coaptation attempts to build and mobilize support on the part of those (within organizations as well as across organizations boundaries) who agree with particular organizational participant involved.
Committees tended to be used when there were problems of decision acceptance, when it was not feasible to hire acceptance, or when no standing committee existed.

Research is also being done on political tactics. For instance, Yukl and Falble recently derived eight political or influence tactics that are used most frequently.