Office politics is the use of an individual’s power within his or her working place so as to gain advantages that are beyond the individual’s authority. Some of the advantages that individuals aim for in the office politics include access to tangible and intangible benefits in the working place so as to influence the behavior of other work mates. Both individuals and organizations may get involved in office politics. Office politics is quite different from office gossip in that those engaging in office politics do so with the aim of gaining advantage in the office while office gossip is a social activity.
Office gossip and politics are however related in that individuals use office gossip to control the flow of information in the office hence gain advantage over other individuals in the office. Office politics may either be positive or negative and it also refers to the way colleagues in the office act among themselves. Manipulation in the office takes place mostly because of office politics and it may happen in any relationship in the office where the people involved use indirect means to reach their office goals.
Office politics happens mostly because of the limited resources in the office coupled with the fact that individuals want to achieve their goals at the expense of co-workers. A very good example is in a case where several people apply for one promotion in the office and they expect that the selection will be done based on merit. One individual may believe that selection based on merit may put him or her at a disadvantage so one may decide to use some kind of coercion so as to be in an advantageous position.
When the people being manipulated in office politics know about it the manipulator will be ready to explai9n although he or she will be planning an exit at the same time because they opt for staying in control instead of facing a revelation that would expose their behavior. The aim of office politics is not always increased pay or a promotion in the work but it may be for the purpose of gaining greater power or control in the office.
The manipulators in office politics always achieve their goals by co-opting as many work mates as possible into his or her plans while at the same time strengthening their position so that they may not be accused of any wrongdoing in the office. Office politics is considered a very important issue in the workplace because workers who aim at manipulating their working relationships use a lot of time for their own benefit at the expense of the organization (Dawn, 2009).
Office politics may be prevented in the workplace through the following means: The best way to avoid office politics is to get along well with the other employees in the office. Living at peace with others means that individuals need to be careful when choosing options in case of power struggles in the office. Another method of avoiding office politics is keeping confidential information to oneself. Workers being helpful to each other build political capital in the office and loyalty. This may significantly reduce the chance that an individual may be a victim of political conspiracy.
To avoid office politics workers also need to stay away from office gossip because it leads to politics in the office. Employees should also be straight arrow, this means that they should be seen as people who do not play office politics and always do what they say they will. The issue of office politics should be addressed in an open manner when appropriate. Having written records in the office may eliminate office politics especially those issue that one suspects they will haunt him or her later.
Managers and senior workers in the office should set up incentives aimed at encouraging team work instead of encouraging the staff to work against each other. To eliminate office politics the senior managers in the office need to set an example to their junior workers because people in organizations look at their leaders so as to determine the way to act. WORD COUNT: 685 WORDS REFERENCE LIST Dawn Rosenberg McKay, (2009), office politics: a rude intruder, available online from URL: http://careerplanning. about. com/od/workplacesurvival/a/politics. htm, retrieved on 19th July 2009 at 13:42