“There is lot of politics in this organization.” During my initial periods, I use to hear this statement in every organization on my first day with those organizations. As you grow in your career, you come to know about politics and then nobody says it to you. You yourself try to understand the organization from your own perspective.
Power and politics are ever-present and necessary features of organizational life. Without them, much of what gets done in organizations could never be accomplished. However, power can also be abused, and personal or political goals can overshadow organizational ones.
It involves the pursuit of individual agendas and self-interest in an organization without regard to their effect on the organization's efforts to achieve its goals. Everybody has his own agenda. Most of the time insecurity plays important role in politics. In one of my earlier organizations, I had a senior person who was very political. He was working in the organization for almost 20 years. He used to call employees, mostly female employees on odd times for getting the information about colleagues. His way of working was extra-constitutional. In fact he was able to create the image of saviour in the organization, in reality he was not. He had created the network of moles and messengers in the organization. Off course all were cheerleaders. He tried to spoil the career of many talented people. This can be the extreme example how the politics should not be. I started to challenge him on his decisions.
Organizations are not rational systems. Rather, organizations are coalitions composed of varied individuals and interest groups that engage in on-going contests for control. Here one thing is sure that "objective facts," are interpreted by employees who view things from their own perspective.
However by this way of working, employees become manipulative and it affects the culture. Culture is created by such interpretations. You can call it dirty politics where an individual forces his own agenda and ignores organizational benefit. People suffers and he gains, everything power and position, but not for long time. The end is here only.
However politics is not a grubby word. Such people made it grubby. When we can not live without it, we should learn to live with it. Whenever I joined new organization, I learnt the different aspects of politics in organizations. Every human being is political. He is not strength forward. He knows where to act and where to react.
When the politics is for the benefit of the organization and masses, it can not be bad. After all you need to be diplomatic. However it is very difficult for others to make the judgment on political scale. It is very subjective and there is thin line between politics and diplomatic (or dirty politics and politics). It is purely the intention of the person in command. People sometimes get the power due to politics. Such people then play a major role in creating worst culture in the organizations. However when the harmful politics comes into the picture, it is the role of HR to kill it. Sometimes most of the HR professionals themselves are the part of politics.
Do we, HR professionals dare to challenge this dirty politics? Do we have courage to go to the top boss and tell him about this?