Organizational Politics: Tactics and Characteristics of Its Actors

by Robert Allen, Dan Madison, Lyman Porter, Patricia Renwick, Bronston Mayes

Fall 1979

Volume 22
Issue 1

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This article presents a study report in assessing the existence and role of political tactics in organizational behavioral settings. Organizational politics involve intentional acts of influence to enhance or protect the self-interest of individuals or groups. The study was performed by interviewing eighty-seven managerial personnel representing thirty different organizations in the electronics industry in Southern California. Managerial respondents indicated a high degree of ambivalence when asked to consider the harmful or helpful effects of politics on individuals and the organization. Advancement of career and increased power were cited as self-interests that could be furthered through politics. It was mentioned that politics could improve communications and coordination in the organization, but political behavior could threaten task accomplishment. There was considerable consistency among the three levels of respondents concerning tactics most used in organizations. From an organization's perspective, tactics of withholding and distorting information are supposed to be the most potentially dysfunctional.

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