Politicsis the procedure through which influence and power are achieved andexercised and is not limited to elective positions. This is done whenpeople use their positions or ability with other resources to get apreferred outcome in a situation where a disagreement exists(Kuiperset al., 2014). Every entity or establishment has been characterized by efforts ofsome members trying to gain control and power. It often happens whenthe interest of the management clash with those of the employees.Hence, in an effort to influence policy, members might pursue to gaincontrol over their fellows in an effort to front an idea, which willshape an organization (Kuiperset al., 2014).The idea might be against management, but nevertheless, employeeswill front it.
Asa consequence, some people have viewed the behavior as dirty as itdistracts employees from dedicating their attention to the goals ofan entity while some managers argue that it is necessary forsuccess(Kapoutsis,Papalexandris, Treadway, & Bentley, 2015).It is important for managers to come to terms that political behaviorcannot be eliminated, and they need to understand why it occurs, copewith it, and come up with strategies, which can control its adverseeffects (Kapoutsiset al., 2015).The fact that employees have been unable to come to a consensus onthe allocation of resources and basic principles has made politicalbehavior in organizations an interest of study by scholars(Kapoutsiset al., 2015). It is important to note that it greatly influences a manager`sgrowth and promotion. Therefore, people practice it to protect andbenefit themselves. Influence is greatly amassed through personal andsocial relations in an entity.
Thereare various reasons which can prompt people to seek influence overothers. To begin with, personal interest in a firm has been blamedfor various political behaviors. There are individuals who seek powerto satisfy their career development and growth (Kuiperset al., 2014).As a result, they seek influence, which will favor them in theircareer path. Also, scarcity of resources can result in politicalbehavior as an approach to maximize individual control over scarceresources (Kapoutsisetal., 2015).It can also arise when people are resisting change. This usuallyhappens when there is an organizational change, and no one is certainwhat will happen. In that case, a manager might use his influence tothwart the process.
Applicationof Political Behavior in Organizations
Toelaborate how employees behave politically in corporations, Verizonand New York Nurses will be used in this paper. Verizon is abroadband enterprise that provides telecommunication services whileNew York nurses are employees who work in health facilities in NewYork City.
Recently,36000 Verizon workers were on strike on 13th April 2016 after havinga labor disagreement (CNN,2016).The employees were complaining that Verizon is taking well-payingjobs away from the American people. Also, it did not renew thecontract with some of its employees instead, it employed morelow-waged workers (CNN,2016).Such change prompted political behavior which led to a protest inVerizon Central Office. The employees felt threatened thus they did astrike to protect their interest in the organization.
NewYork City Nurses
Thecomplaints of New York nurses have been there since 2015. They arenot content with the current nurse to patient ratios, which to themrisk the patients’ lives and are to blame for the poor outcome inhealth facilities(New York Nurse State Association, 2016).They have gone a mile and proposed a bill, “Safe Staffing forQuality Care Act,” which was passed in the Assembly by a vote of108 against 32. The bill is awaiting a signature from the governor tobecome law. They pursued this path after the management and owners ofthe hospitals failed to come to consensus claiming the proposal doesnot leave room for flexibility, which might even put the lives of thepatients in even more danger (NewYork Nurse State Association, 2016).The nurses resorted to solving their issues outside the detailedorganizational framework as they felt that the management would notgrant them their request. Such a political behavior among nurses madethem come together and come up with a bill which will govern how theycarry out their activities in health facilities.
Solutionsto the Verizon and New York Nurses Cases
Thereare various ways through which managers can diffuse politicalinfluence. It can be done through communication. Instead of managersdedicating their resources to eliminate politics, they need toemphasize their efforts in creating a healthy environment that allowsinformation and knowledge to flow free without affecting performance(Kuiperset al., 2014).Firms need to keep on revising and renegotiating their norms and workhabits. It is important for an entity to employ the tool ofefficient communication. The tool enables the management to relatewell with its employees breaking the boundaries of communicationbarriers in the organization (Kuiperset al., 2014).
Thiswill enable employees to speak out their minds and expose issues thatare causing frustrations in a transparent and open manner. Forinstance, in the case of New York nurses, if the management had notshut down the nurses claiming that their plea was unreasonable, theywould not have resulted to use the Assembly to pass the “SafeStaffing for Quality Care Act,” which when signed by the governorwould bound management to implement the nurses’ “simple plea”as a complete functional law which when broken attracts legalredress.
Moreover,organizations need to employ managers who are politically competentand can relate well with fellow employees and steer the entity’schange initiatives and amass a great support without triggeringresistance to change (Kuiperset al., 2014).In the two cases above, if the management were politically competent,they would have tried to analyze the outcome of the actions andpursued the issues from a political point of view, which brings moreworkers on board and consensus within the entity.
Furthermore,political behavior can be moderated through the reduction ofuncertainty. When an organization intends to make a change, it shouldmake its employees part of the decision-making process and consultfurther issues with its subordinates to avoid the fear ofuncertainty, which is greatly attributed to major politicalresistance behaviors in entities (Kuiperset al., 2014).Verizon case study can elaborate the issue of uncertainty. Theworkers resulted in striking as their contracts had not being renewedand the fact that their jobs were being outsourced. This createduncertainty among employees who are not sure whether they will beretrenched due to the availability of new cheap labor. Also, therewas a lack of clarity whether the contracts would be renewed.
Thus,entities need to structure their leadership and the environment in away that they accommodate healthy organizational politics, whichleads to positive growth and development. This can be achievedthrough efficient communication, clarity, participative management,supportive climate, cooperation among workers and efficientmanagement of scarce resources (Nelson, 2012).
CNN.(2016, April 13). 36,000 Verizon workers go on strike – Apr. 13,2016. Retrieved fromhttp://money.cnn.com/2016/04/13/technology/verizon-strike/
Kapoutsis,, I.,Papalexandris, A., Treadway,, D. C., & Bentley, J.(2015). Measuring political will in organizations theoreticalconstruct development and empirical validation. Journalof Management.doi:10.1177/0149206314566460
Kuipers,B. S., Higgs, M., Kickert, W., Tummers, L., Grandia, J., & Vander Voet, J. (2014). The management of change in publicorganizations: A literature review. PublicAdministration,92(1),1-20. doi:10.1111/padm.12040
NewYork Nurse State Association. (2016, July 8). End of legislativesession highlights: NYSNA Scores important victories | New York StateNurses Association [Web log post]. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nysna.org/blog/2016/07/08/end-legislative-session-highlights-nysna-scores-important-victories#.V68onTUppK0
Nelson.(2012). Power and political behavior (chapter 11)