Current literature suggests that there are multiple dimensions of organizational politics or workplace politics. The first thing that comes in mind is whether human nature is the factor that affects the organization politics?

What is human nature? Human nature is the identity of a person which refers to distinguishing characteristics such as the way of thinking, feeling behaving that human tends to have naturally. Development of human nature depends on many factors such as cultural background, religion, caste, society, family environment, friends, schooling, educational background are some of the factors that are responsible for the creationist.

What is Organizational politics? it refers to a variety of activities associated with the use of influence tactics to improve personal or organizational interests. Studies indicate that individuals with political skills tend to do better in gaining more personal power as well as managing stress and job demands, than their politically naive counterparts. They also have a greater on organizational outcomes Are the politics dysfunctional or normal phenomena? Dysfunctional politics can sink an organization, and yet most of the executives do react with distaste to the idea of being a savvy organizational politician. It appears self-serving and contrary to values and ethics. However, the reality is that politics is normal and human nature is built on it. It is another influencing process along with the norms, formal authority and expertise. Thus, leaders need to understand the forms it can take and how to use it for the well-being of the organization. 

Political behaviour is likely to be present but may not be explicit and need to be gleaned from observation. It may be that manager needs to exert a lot of pressure on a team to get things done as given by emphasizing not drop-down approach but based on actionable work items that focus on workflow based on current activity. The current action is constrained by organizational politics. The organizational intern is the outcome of human nature. Sometimes, it may be necessary for employees to work behind the scenes to build coalitions of believers in a new vision to convince others. Whatever may be the context it is important to understand that the root causes of political activities are often scarce resources (including time pressures), social, economic and structural inequalities, and individual personal motivations. Thus, it is not always that politics are dirty and may be necessary to save the organization. If the CEO of an organization is underperforming leading to the closure of the organization, the employees may form a group and become whistleblowers to save the organization. Organization politics exist in every organization either for functional or for dysfunctional aspects.

  1. The level that political action happens. Political elements might be considered with the individual player and their political attitudes, and these may develop into a group-level phenomenon.
  2. The political landscape is the extent to which the source of power is informal or formal. Making use of influence, relationships and norms is soft power. Whereas hard power is those which are formal and explicit power drawn upon role authority, expertise, directives, and reward and control mechanisms. However, keeping balance in hard & soft power is very important. Soft structure creates anarchy but if everything is hard it may lead to rigidity.

As the organization grows the need and the demand increases, the manpower increases and at the same time there is an increase in the hierarchy. When the personal influence and informal networks are having a higher role.  It looks like the wildflowers as it is dynamic and grows naturally, and no one works for it. However, if the wildflowers can grow it can also form a dense mat through which nothing else can grow. In such kind of organizational form, informal networks likely to challenge the legitimate power and the long-term interests of the organization.  They may thwart legitimate change efforts for organizational growth. To deal with this wildflowers kind of politics, the manager needs to understand the informal networks at play. Identify the key brokers, as well as the gaps and fill them by personal dialogue with the broker. If the brokers are harming. Effective managers isolate them by developing a counter-narrative.

If this is not controlled it becomes hard like rock It may be described as one that is made with individual interactions and formal sources of authority such as title, role, expertise, or access to resources. It includes political capital that may be attributed to being a member of different committees.  Because rocks symbolize stabilizing foundation that keeps an organization steady in times of crisis. However, the sharp edges of hard power may wreck the organizational vision and mission. The sharp edges may be created due to the incompetent person occupying higher ranks.

The further stage we can call it as procedural politics is an amalgamation of formal authority with organizational systems, they are embedded in the rules, structures, policy guidelines, and procedures that form the basis of political activities. The benefits of these rules and procedures are guiding posts against the arbitrary arts of individual-such as charismatic or autocratic persons or leaders. Thus, It’s a functional political. The process that uses structures of control systems, incentives, and sanctions that keep the organization in compliance. However, rules and procedures can also lead to the company becoming overly bureaucratic, where rules are used as a political device to become bureaucrat’s raj.

The last stage is like forests Organizations have implicit norms, hidden assumptions, and invisible hence it becomes like the forest it provides cover and safety for employees of an organization. It is important to understand the symptoms so that it should not be mistaken for the diverse human nature.

How does HR play a role in this? Gone are the times of an educator addressing to a homeroom brimming with understudies and composing notes on a board. Ordinarily, the colleges’ finance, participation, and other routine HR work were dealt with by HR officials, to a great extent begging to be proven wrong was the job of an HR official in Institutes and colleges. She/he uses to deal with routine HR exercises like shortlisting resume, record keeping, benefits, and other HR-related work. There is no situation for HR experts in advanced education because of an absence of comprehension of the new reality. The new the truth is no more understudies will come independent of the quality contribution by institutes the nature of instructors, conveyance, examine, financing is advertised based. Best understudies seek the best foundations and simultaneously, the organizations become extraordinary establishments.

Hence profession is rising due to the changing needs and demands of the competitive market. Their work has shifted more from the back office to organizational transformation, focusing on strategic and business partnerships. Broadly speaking, most human resources leaders focus on building a workforce that reflects their institution’s strategic vision. The expansion of the role of HR in higher education signifies the progress of HR in the corporate world over the last two decades, compared to the earlier role of administrative function now it is more of a strategic and advisory role based on human capital management.

Because of the involvement of HR inside the organization has resulted in the “Best Practices” in higher education, Increasing demand for HR in higher education has incited the Universities to make themselves ready for this competitive market and start the innovative ideas and get rid of office politics  The management has started hiring HR to help their organization to move towards the working style of corporate and to develop or recruit skill set that will reflect the image of the university in a much more modern style workplace and showcase the changing trends in education.

Moreover, many higher educations in India is not-for-profit hence they must be strong in these areas for their survival in the market and HR can be very helpful in the supporting engagement, improving performance levels, and leading transformation efforts. Transformation is the process of accepting the changes for the betterment of an organization, the organization who do not opt for the transformation they find it difficult to meet the demand.

It is important to have teamwork and diversity in culture, for an organization to succeed. No doubt handling manpower in the current scenario has become more challenging than earlier, hiring staff from multi-cultural background for a mix of best skills and cultural adaptability has become a challenge for human resources, but also a big reward in terms of the long-term development of the organization.

Diversity in employees not only creates a healthy work environment but kills the organization politics to a large extent improves the learning process when many employees are hired from the same state or through reference employees tends to form the group and support each other for their survival which later on takes the shape of survival of fittest and ultimately the organization productivity suffers, there are less work and more gossip and it becomes like a hard to break.

The responsibilities of HR have gone beyond arranging benefits and having a tough conversation about employee behaviour or performance. You have to show your employees that you care about them as human beings by concentrating on the good part of your efforts on facilitating a happily engaging, high performing and fulfilling Institute / University culture.

“When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.” – Betty Bender

Dr. Nikhat M Hamza

Author:
Dr. Nikhat M Hamza
Director HR & FTA, BS Abdur Rahman Crescent Institute of Science and Technology
Founder Business coaching and Mentoring for startups

2 COMMENTS

  1. Politics itself is not a bad word but the intent involved makes it such. Organisations that don’t have the free culture or communication and feedback mechanism will have plenty of bad politics in it. While, we can say if a manger has to make a delicate balance between the management and the employees, will have to be political.

  2. True many times the managers have to get the work done form their subordinate, which if not communicated properly assumed as politics.

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