ECE _ DSST Organizational Behavior

Those out of power and seeking to be in will first

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Those “out of power” and seeking to be “in” will first try to increase their power individually, but if this proves to be ineffective, the alternative is to form a coalition . The natural way to gain influence is to become a powerholder. But in many instances, this may be difficult, risky, costly, or impossible. In such cases, efforts will be made to form a coalition of two or more “outs” who, by joining together, can combine their resources to increase rewards for themselves. Political behavior in organizations are those activities that are not required as part of one’s formal role in the organization, but that influence, or attempt to influence, the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within the organization. This definition is broad enough to include political behaviors such as withholding key information from decision makers, whistle-blowing, spreading rumors, leaking confidential information to the media, and exchanging favors with others for mutual benefit. Legitimate political behavior refers to normal everyday politics. Examples of this include complaining to one’s supervisor, bypassing the chain of command, forming coalitions, obstructing organizational policies through inaction, and developing contacts outside the organization through one’s professional activities. Illegitimate political behavior is extreme political behavior that violates the implied rules of the game. Those who pursue such extreme activities are often described as individuals who play hardball. Illegitimate activities include sabotage, whistle-blowing, and symbolic protests such as wearing unorthodox dress or protest buttons. Not all groups or organizations are equally political. At the individual level, researchers have identified certain personality traits, needs and other factors that are likely to be related to political behavior. In terms of traits, it is found that employees who are high self-monitors, possess an internal locus of control, and have a high need for power are more likely to engage in political behavior. Additionally, an individual’s investment in the organization, perceived alternatives, and expectations of success will influence the degree to which he or she will pursue illegitimate means of political action.
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Political activity is probably more a function of organizational factors than of individual difference variables. Certain organizational situations and cultures promote politics. When an organization’s resources are declining and when there is opportunity for promotions, politics is more likely to surface. In addition, cultures characterized by low trust, role ambiguity, unclear performance evaluation systems, democratic decision making and high pressures for performance will create breeding grounds for politicking.
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