Organizational politics can be defined as selfish behavior exhibited by individuals or groups of individuals to sustain their selfish interests without much thought of their colleagues and how their behavior will affect the organization’s goals at the end of the day. Some manifestations of organizational politics include; high level of competition for power positions, conflicts between the various offices as each tries to have an easier way through its tasks.
Organizational politics has a way of influencing information systems employed or to be employed to aid workers with their daily routines. People, especially those in power positions, tend to engage in politics to make things easier for them and enjoy the maximum benefit out of any little opportunity available. Thus they manipulate the system into a state where they benefit most (Thompson, 1967).
Take an example of a system that is meant to replace members of the labor force by carrying out their duties more efficiently and within less time. Workers will not welcome this idea even though it will reduce operational costs and give those at the management level an easy time. This gives employees a reason to engage in politics. Employees resist this kind of change to the structure of the organization by all means. They carry out demonstrations to try and reach the directors’ mercies for them not to be replaced by the invention.
In an organization information technology influences a lot from the management level to the lowest levels of employment. There are information systems meant for every level of the hierarchy of the organization.
At the highest level is the Executive Support system. It assists senior managers to make decisions. It collects and analyses business information at all levels for the senior managers.
Next on the chain is the Management Information system. It aids the middle level of management together with the operational supervisors to collect data from the lowest level of the hierarchy and converts it into management reports. Also, there is the Decision Support system which is responsible for making decisions making swiftly in cases where there are uncertainties regarding the outcome of the decisions that have been made.
To aid sharing of data and ideas within the organization at the different levels of operation, Knowledge Management systems are put in place. These systems depend on other operating systems to function optimally. Moreover, our Transaction Processing systems analyze transactions that efficiently occur on a day-to-day basis. Depending on the size of the firm several of them could be employed. Lastly is the office automation system, responsible for the processing of data. It refers to the wide range of software used by employees in the firm (Valacich, 2008).
From the various types of information systems explained above it is evident that IT inventions contribute a lot when it comes to decision making. With these systems, those in authority can exercise their powers more efficiently as most of their actions are based upon the outcome of the information systems. Therefore, these systems give the organization a competitive edge and a reputation to protect. Thus, with these achievements the board and all those associated with the success are held in high esteem.
There are four channels through which decisions can be made in organizations, according to Gronau and Rohlof, (2008). These are through bureaucracy, rationality, organized anarchy, and politicking. Politics plays a major role when it comes to running the affairs of an organization, like making decisions. However, decisions made based on politics are characterized by large-scale conflict, little or no regard to the means to the ends, and involve quite a several outsiders (Thompson, 1967).
Here are examples of decisions based on political grounds. Managers in a firm have this feeling that what they are earning is substantially low compared to what their counterparts in other firms are earning. Their firm, however, makes use of every single penny hence no room for any salary review. Therefore, the managers think of a strategy to create room for their salary review by employing information systems that will see to it that operational costs are reduced. As a result, some workers are laid off and the funds used to settle their wages becomes the managers’ salary increment. The managers care less about the fate of the workers but ensure business goes on as usual.
Another case of this would be, a situation where employees are employed just for a certain period after which they will be of no use to the firm, they are contract-based. As a result of decisions based on politics, the employees maliciously work at a slow pace to work for more days. This is at the expense of the organization since it has to allocate funds to pay for the extra days the employees will be working. The employees care less about the cost the organization will incur but only care for their maximum benefit from the contract.
In conclusion, organizational politics based on the example above is a necessary evil in that it sees to it that operational costs are reduced and efficiency enhanced. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes such moves by those in management have nothing to do with the organizational goals. They are based on maliciousness and greed.
Gronau, N. and Rohlof, M (2008). Information Systems Implementation: The Big Picture, Proceedings of the 2008 ACM Symposium on Applied computing, Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil, Pages 1077-1078.
Thompson, J.D. (1967). Organizations in Action. New York: McGraw Hill.
Valacich J. S. (2008). Information Systems Today (3rd ed.). Pearson Publishing.