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Why are there office politics?

By awfernald ·
Why do individuals get involved in office politics?

What is the end goal of office politics?

Do office politics help or hurt the organization?

Do office politics help or hurt the individuals in the organization?

Which is more important? Doing your best for your company? or doing your best for your political allies?

How do YOU use office politics to your advantage and/or your companies advantage?

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re: politics

by afram In reply to Why are there office poli ...

What is the end goal of office politics?
-- usually to advance one's career (possibly by making someone else look bad or allying with higher-ups), avoid work, or just to get back at a another coworker after being "wronged".

Do office politics help or hurt the organization?
-- it may cause some competition between employees which can be good. Political allies may be beneficial to the company if workers help out other workers.

At the same time, if the politics makes enemies, it will hurt the organization if employees refuse to help eachother out.

Do office politics help or hurt the individuals in the organization?

Whoever benefits will usually do so at the expense of others.

Which is more important? Doing your best for your company? or doing your best for your political allies?

Depends on if you value your company or your career more and how much rank your allies have. Helping out those above you may not help the company, but it may help your career and viceversa

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Define "Office Politics"

by maxwell edison In reply to Why are there office poli ...

Is your definition number 1,2 or 3? (Or something else? Or all of them?)

1. office politics is a slang term for the often counterproductive human factors present between coworkers, in an office environment in the private or public sector.

Aspects of office politics: Smokers often form an inner-circle of office gossip during their outdoor smoking breaks. The water cooler is another gathering ground for gossip.

2. "Kicked Upstairs": One of the concepts found in corporate executive office politics is called being "kicked upstairs". This is when an unliked or underperforming executive in charge of a division of a corporation, is said to have been promoted (and might report then to the person his current boss is reporting to), yet is given only a small amount of responsibility, if any. This is used often as a kind of punishment.

This practice however is controversial because it is seen as too lenient, and a waste of the shareholder's money. Often executives stay within the corporation for years not doing very much work (see the Peter principle), but also they are often finally allowed to have real duties when someone else is unliked or fails. This whole process is very hard to discern from an outsider's, or analyst's standpoint. It is often revealed only later in famous cases in business biographies.

3. Titles: Among corporate executives, certain titles which legally have no real importance but are meant for honor and pride are fought over by executives. Example titles are COO and President. Often one of these titles is given to a person who might only head a division of the company, but the title is given to please that person or to indicate they are in line for sucsession. In the past, being allowed to be on the Board of Directors (a group which is supposed to represent the interests of the shareholders and be the boss of the ceo) was an honor sought by many executives, although this practice has diminished since the many scandals of 2002 where the board was shown to be weak or negligent. Another commonly used device to "cool off egos" is an entity called "the office of the chairman". This is usually created when a merger or other circumstances finds former CEO's all having to work together at the same company. Since there usually only is one resulting CEO, the other former CEO's and the CEO form a group called the office of the chairman. It has never been observed that these groupings have had any real power or impact beyond the title.

Definition of "Office Politics" -- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

(I love Wikipedia - one of my favorite sites.)

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by awfernald In reply to Define "Office Politics"

The question I made was to see how each person here would define "office politics". Also, I would like to see the different viewpoints on what impact office politics has on individuals, groups, super groups and the organization as a whole.

Do office politics provide a stronger company? a weaker company? no net impact? What are the opinions out there on this?

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by jkaras In reply to Why are there office poli ...

we are all raised in a pecking order, in the home, at school, yadda yadda. Everyone is raised in different places, homes, cultures that dictate their personalities. The problem is that we are all trapped with these individuals 40+ hrs and have to make the best of the situation. We all have to get along to work together, but their has to be a lead, and usually it is denoted by seniority, not talent, congeniality, or smarts. It both helps and hurts because in my opinion their is no such thing as professionalism, to me it is a p.r. motto to excuse certain behavior. We all talk about one another behind closed doors, rat eachother out for advancement or more pay, alienate people that dont fit into the "cliques" like in high school. Most people cant get past their glory days and try to be this or that in the office to compensate for how popular or not popular from their past. Do I like all that I work with? No, but I get along because I have learned much more from others than I ever had from a book. If people dont like me, so what, but treat me with respect like you would and I'm fine or look out for my interests and I'll do the same. We spend more time with the people we work with than our own families and tell things to co-workers that we dont with those closest to us. We are all in the same boat together, either we row together or drift. If people were as professional or adult as they profess than being political wouldnt matter. Other than that their are legal issues because everyone wants something for nothing and hide behind excuses than the truth. People have to protect themselves because their is no loyalty in business, its business and thats all about profit. Just ask anyone who has either been escorted out of the office once fired despite years of service or has sat there not speaking up after your so called friend is shamed like that. Politics are wrong, but people claim that they go to church, temple, or what have you and forget the basic teachings, leaving a facade of lies and hurt feelings, how sad in a supposed evolved society.

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A lot of good points!

by awfernald In reply to because......

In light of these points, what traits would be required in an individual to be called a true professional?

Is it possible? or do we just provide lip service to this?

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points clarified

by jkaras In reply to A lot of good points!

To be truly professional as a manager would be to provide an atmosphere to inspire or create advancement. What I mean is this, in our field managers dont want to invest in training or offer more experience to their workers because of a fear of wasting money that the employee once trained will leave forcing the manager to start all over again. To me this is self deating and rediculous for a company, it doesnt cost a manager to train (not sending off to training classes)if they are so capable, information and understanding become reciprocal, bonds of respect are formed, the team atmosphere improves as a sense of ownership is established. All supported office personel see an increase in quality of service and efficiency that demonstrates great management skills. If the employee is satisfied professionally and financially then they will stay, no one bolts for the door earlier than a year and a half, anything under that looks bad on the resume. If a manager fails in this matter the employee feels like an indentured servant resenting the manager that s(he) is forced to play a respect game, the door swings both ways. You dont have to like everyone but you need to understand that all desire their own respect, not everyone has capabilities for advancement but that doesnt excuse a refusal to attempt to better the person, you chose to be a manager nobody elected you and all the responsibilities that it implies, not just being an administrator, you effect your employees future directly.

As for an employee, dont sell your manager down the river, look out for his/her interests, assist your fellow team mates giving them your knowledge rather than hording worrying about any lost edge. Dont run to the manager at every little disagreement, handle like an adult, be sociable, keep your prejudices to yourself.

in short:
1. respect
2. share
3. invest (stagnation kills companies, without it growth is impossible)
4. leave work at work
5. take responsibility
6. proper conduct befitting an adult
7. common sense

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Well said

by gralfus In reply to because......

The lack of integrity I encounter in the workplace is sometimes astonishing, probably because I expect people to behave differently now that they are grown up. When I was young, I was always the outcast and never fit into any clique. While distressing, it allowed me to see the shallowness of what the others around me valued. Clothes, bravado, sports, carousing, and an overbearning sneering arrogance that belittles everyone not like them. Back in grade school, one of them said to me in a condescending tone "Why don't you just give up? Nobody likes you and you don't have any friends." All I could do was laugh. I should give up my life because you twits don't like me?

I couldn't understand it then, and I don't want to now. It is wrong, though it fits into the philosphy of "survival of the fittest" because they formed their pack and climbed the ladder of success, until they burned out, got pregnant out of wedlock, obese, alcoholic, or dead. Some did achieve business success, and still hold onto the same attitude today while in the office, and we get to deal with them. Unfortunately, they are often in management positions, and they encourage (and promote) others like them to become managers, to restore the "pack".

For me professionalism is an offshoot of integrity, and means that I will take the tools and knowledge specific to my profession and use them to complete the task I have been given to the best of my ability, while treating my coworkers and customers with respect. I find that when others do the same, our "pack" is really a great group of people to be with, and our products and services are excellent.

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by Gary.Crispens In reply to because......

Politics happen because employees are looking for someone that has the best chemistry to work with them. That is why there are "favorites" in the office and people trying to become favorites. I have worked with people that challenged me to achieve even more because of good chemistry and they were the people I wanted to work with most of the time. On the other hand, when I worked with people that I had poor chemistry with, work tended to not get done as fast or as well. Nothing like a whinner to gum up the works and pull everyone down.
As my old boss once said, after a while most people's technical skills get good, but it is the chemistry and attitude that counts most.

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You're wasting your time

by amcol In reply to Why are there office poli ...

Did you know that Amazon lists 1,200 titles having to do with "office politics" and a Google search yields 11,600,000 hits?

You're searching for answers to the unanswerable, but I'll give you my two cents' (which is about what this will be worth):

Why do individuals get involved in office politics? Because they do. Because all of life is an extension of high school, and when you put two human beings in a room you have politics. That's with it.

What is the end goal of office politics? To win something. Power, position, prestige, money, ego stroking. What's the end goal of anything?

Do office politics help or hurt? Both, and usually at the same time.

Do better for your company or your political allies? This assumes the two are in conflict. Are you an altruist or an egoist? Are you working for the greater good or your own gain? This is situational...sometimes your political allies have the corporate best interest at heart, and sometimes they're just a bunch of scoundrels out for themselves. What's going on at your organization?

How do I use office politics? Too personal a question to answer, and again too situational. What works for me won't necessarily work for you, since we're two different people in two different environments.

You're looking for quick and dirty answers to complex issues. Can't be done. You've got to do what all of us through a few dozen years and a few dozen wars, have the scars to prove it, and figure it out on your own.

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Well there's a classic 'political' reply !

by MerchantBanker In reply to You're wasting your time

No info, no views, no exploration. No depth at all. Just a classic 'manager' who imagines that this kind of empty talk 'inspires' the underlings.

Just the 'hey, deal with it, it's a jungle blah ...' stuff as usual.

'Quarterback talk' I call it.

Underlying message?:
"just like I have, and look where I have got to scars and I, proudly marching ever on, leading from the front ..."

What the world needs is more people just like me because I'm right. Sooner or later you will see that.

See the first post in this thread for the reason this egotistical nonsense thrives in so many.

Sigh ...

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