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The Positive and Negative side of Organisational Politics

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Organisational politics give an understanding about informal conflict processes and collaboration in an organisation. It can be classified into two sites which are the positive and the negative sides. Both of these give rise to a very different outcome which can strongly influence an employee performance and behaviour. It can either benefit an organisation or against an organisation direction. Basically, individuals that involve in positive organisational politics will share the same direction and will work together to achieve their target while the individuals in negative organisational politics are more self-service and will sabotage others to achieve its goal.

According to Vigoda-Gadot & Drory, the negative or positive side of organisational politics is depends on the personality traits in politics. For an example, when individuals with appropriate political skills are expose to positive organisational politics, a basic and advantageous competition will be developed among them. The competition that developed is very helpful in cropping stressful working environment. In this case, they will influence each other in a positive way by trusting, giving one another confidence and sincerity (Drory & Vigoda-Gadot, 2010: 195; Gotsis & Kortezi, 2010: 504). Trust, confidence and sincerity are visible powers, behaviours and strategies that can prevent negative politics like injustice unfairness and inequity (2010: 197).

Furthermore, Ladebo, Vredenburgh and Shea-VanFossen mentioned that an individual’s or organization’s success is depends on the politic skills applied. According to Kurchner-Hawkins & Miller, positive political behaviour is leading to achieve organisation’s vision and objectives, evolve cooperation and confidence among individuals and create ethically balanced organisation. In addition, Butcher and Clarke (2006: 297) stated that a manager with well political skilled play an important role in managing workplace political behaviours in order to avoid inequality.Moreover, a board-minded form of politics will motivate an individual towards more persistent learning in an organisation. A more flexible and innovative organisational form will be enhanced and allow the interaction within individuals to circulate learning (Coopey & Burgoyne, 2000).

However, there is negative side of organisational politics. Let’s think about this statement “What is in your mind when a person told you that you are a very political person? Will you take it as a complement or a tease?” This statement was stated by Block in 1988. In my opinion, a narrow-minded individual will definitely take it as a tease and feel insulted by the statement. Researchers found that most of the people understand organisational politics in a negative ways. Thus, this lead to the unconscious development of sense of unfairness, deprivation and inequity (Gotsis & Kortezi, 2010: 499; Harris et al, 2009: 2669; Ladebo, 2006: 256; VigodaGadot & Kapun, 2005: 258).

Negative organisational politics may leading to ambiguity. In other words, an individual’s voices and opinions are tend to be mute and twisted (Vince, 2001: 1344). This is the best opportunity to create conflicts and misunderstanding among employees in a political organisation. Hence, they will tend to feel being sabotaged by the uncertainty, ambiguity and self-service actions (Harris et al, 2009: 2680). According to, Vredenburgh & SheaVanFossen (2010) common organisational circumstances of uncertainty, shortage of resources, and disagreement can be materialized by forcefulness, power and control need, manipulation, rank rivalry, and egocentrism.

On the other hand, negative organisational politics also give rises to stress and conflict at workplace. It strongly affect the individual with lower status and power in an organisation. This will affect their job performance and commitment to their company and colleagues badly. According to Cropanzano & Li, employee with lower power level tend to have job anxiety when working in political organisation. This will cause the individual to disengage physically and mentally. In other words, they will lose their focus when doing work.

Curtis and Poon mentioned that negative political behaviour limits the communication and sharing of information among individuals Thus, limiting a person’s learning. Communication and information are essential to the organisation political processes. They play important role in political practices (Kurchner-Hawkins & Miller, 2006). Likewise, learning is inhibits because there is no exchange of knowledge from a person to a group or even an organisation due to lack of trust (Bishop et al, 2006: 20). Albrecht also stated that employees will put lesser effort and lack of dedication in accomplishing their job due to the lack of trust of their colleagues and the organisation procedures.

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