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Organisational Politics - Theory and Practice

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Case Study:

Organisational Politics - Theory and Practice

Submitted By

Ahmed Banna 4239726

Marina Finianos 4235812

Michael Molnar 4218504

Shady Samra 4237493

Subject: TBS903 - Managing People in Organisations

Lecturer: Dr. Payyazhi Jayashree

Date: May 2012

Word Count: 5271

Executive Summary

This report studied why it is important to manage political behaviour within organisations. As part of the report a survey was completed encompassing 125 professionals globally, and a local Dubai-based company was reviewed to see what initiatives they have undertaken that directly or indirectly limit political behaviour.

The survey results showed two interesting facts; the first confirming, in an overwhelming manner, what most people assume to be true. Ninety-two percent (92%) of those queried believed that workplace politics can be bad. The interesting counter to this was the result showed that seventy-seven percent (77%) of those polled agreed or thought it was possible that workplace politics could be a positive force within organisations.

The paper goes on to briefly review the various initiatives implemented by a local Dubai-based company and finds that the company has done extensive work to directly and indirectly limit political behaviour, especially illegitimate or unfavourable ones.

Table of Contents

1. INTRODUCTION 1

2. IS MANAGING POLITICAL BEHAVIOUR IMPORTANT? 2

3. EMPLOYEE RESPONSES TO ORGANISATIONAL POLITICS 3

DECREASED JOB SATISFACTION 4

INCREASED ANXIETY AND STRESS 5

INCREASED TURNOVER 6

4. INDIVIDUAL FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE POLITICAL BEHAVIOUR 7

PERSONALITY TRAITS 8

THE INDIVIDUAL'S INVESTMENT IN THE ORGANISATION 9

PERCEIVED JOB ALTERNATIVES 10

EXPECTATION OF SUCCESS 10

5. ORGANISATIONAL FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE POLITICAL BEHAVIOUR 11

REALLOCATION OF RESOURCES 12

PROMOTION OPPORTUNITY 12

ROLE AMBIGUITY 13

UNCLEAR PERFORMANCE EVALUATION SYSTEM 14

ZERO-SUM REWARD PRACTICES 15

6. CONCLUSIONS 16

7. RECOMMENDATIONS 17

8. LIMITATION OF THE STUDY 17

APPENDIX A: SURVEY DATA ANALYSIS 19

DISTRIBUTION OF PARTICIPANTS BY REGION AND INDUSTRY 19

WHAT DOES POLITICS IN THE WORKPLACE MEAN TO YOU? 20

CAN WORKPLACE POLITICS BE A POSITIVE FORCE IN THE ORGANISATION? 21

CONCLUSIONS 21

LIMITATION IN THE SURVEY 22

THE SURVEY 23

APPENDIX B: COMPANY PROFILE (DUBAI-XYZ) 24

APPENDIX C: MEETING MINUTES 26

MEETING 1: 26

MEETING 2: 28

REFERENCES 34

List of Figures

Figure 1 - Distribution by Region 19

Figure 2 - Distribution by Industry 20

Figure 3 - What does politics in the Workplace mean to you? 20

Figure 4 - Can workplace politics be a positive force in the Organisation? 21

Figure 5 - Workplace Politics Survey Form 23

1. Introduction

In 350 B.C. Aristotle wrote a thesis called 'Politics' in which he famously stated that "Man is by nature a political animal". If man is by nature political, then we can conclude that man has a predisposition to bring politics into his everyday life, especially and specifically the workplace. As an animal, man has evolved from hunting and foraging food for survival in the wilderness, to navigating and struggling in the corporate environment of the 21st century which can span cities, states, countries and even continents!

This paper will analyse how a modern Dubai-based corporation directly and indirectly influences, manages and curtails some of the more undesirable political behaviours that are often present. The analysis will look at three aspects of political behaviour, the theories around the characteristics of each aspect, and review how successful the company's initiatives have been so far.

Robbins and Judge (2011) state that the three aspects of political behaviour are:

* Individual Responses to Organisational Politics,

* Individual Factors that Influence Political Behaviour, and finally

* Organisational Factors that Influence Political Behaviour.

For reasons of confidentiality the company studied in this report has requested that their name not be used; instead this report will refer to the company as Dubai-XYZ. A brief limited company background can be found in Appendix B.

However, before we jump into an analysis of the Dubai-XYZ, this paper needs to ask and answer a simpler question; "Is it important to manage political behaviour in a company?" To answer this question the authors undertook a survey of 125 professionals worldwide to ask them what politics in the workplace means to them.

2. Is Managing Political Behaviour Important?

When one discusses Workplace Politics, Political Behaviour or Organisational Politics we must

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