Imagine that you just got a new job in the company that you were dreaming about. Your goal? To become one of the director or even partner later. How to achieve it? By being strategic; when you want to grow in a company you need to be aware of the different aspect of power and politics in the organization. In this short essay, I will first explain you what is power and politics at work, then I will reflect on the consequences toward the workers attitude and finish with a research that may influence our opinion about the real negative effects of organizational politics.
What is power and politics at work?
Politics in the workplace can be defined as the office politics or the organizational ones. Precisely it’s “the ability to understand and effectively influence others for personal or organizational benefit.” Nevertheless, influencing others may serve your own personal interests without worrying about their effect on the organization. Why would you want to have that power? Simply because If you don’t have power you can’t stand up for what you believe is right and also because there’s some work advantages that you can benefit as tangible assets or intangible benefits like status or “pseudo-authority” toward your colleagues.
The concept of power and politics at work can be devastating for the employee since the strong competition between those who are looking for their own success or focusing on the organization itself. Hence, many aspect of the organisational behaviour can be affected as the team effectiveness, motivation and engagement. A lot of people would principally think about the negative effects of those “politics games” since it can be really difficult physically and mentally to support that kind of pressure.
When people don’t have the same political opinions in an organization it can be difficult for a manager to maintain the ambiance and the strength of the group. Manager has to deal with different opinions but also with the “politics games” between the employees, which can turn into manipulation, and backstabbing that will affect dramatically the relationship and the cohesiveness of those. These games of power can also affect the concentration and change the attitude of the worker who are focussing on making them shinning in front of their superiors. Obviously, the organizational politics and game of power will increase the level of stress among the employees. In addition, it’s hard to confess to other coworkers since more you are talking, more people can use this information against you. Finally, as the author, Ana Maria Rossi introduced her book “Improving Employee healt and well Begin” “healthy employees are happier and more productive at work and that in consequence stress at work decreases employee’s health and affects their well-being”.
What did the researches say?
According to the book “Improving Employee Health and Well Being” by Ana Maria Rossi, who is part of the international Stress Management Association, they were proposing that political skills proceed as an interpersonal resource which gives to the workers a sense of control towards political work environment that attenuate the negative effect of perceives politics on employee well-being.
First of all, they found that people who are working in highly political context would experience, for example, high levels of inflammation, elevated resting blood pressure, and harmful changes to their metabolic system. Secondly, the researchers were suggesting that political behaviour represent an adaptive mechanism, which will reduce the negative effect of the politics by allowing the workers to exert a control on their work environment, and access to information that will let them understand the political context. Then possessing political skills will lead to attenuate the negative outcome of politics as stress and ambiguity.
The interesting part comes from multiple studies, which proved that political skills that are linked with socials stressors would reduce the effect of stressors on psychological and physiological indicators of well-being. First, a study (Perrewé, 2004) proved that political skills would neutralize the stress caused by the role conflict. It indicates a positive relation between perceived role stress and physical indicators of stress (elevated blood pressure) weaker for people who were politically skilled. Secondly, other studies revealed that the negative relationship between perceived politics and numerous affective indicators of well being as job satisfaction is weaker for those who are more politically skilled.
If you want to succeed, grow and feel welfare in your future career it would be crucial to understand and being able to “play the game” of power and politics at work.
Ana Maria Rossi(2013). “Improving Employee Health and Well Being”, IAP, p.15-16
 Ana Maria Rossi(2013). “Improving Employee Health and Well Being”, IAP, p.15-16
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