“Man is by nature a political animal” is a wonderful quote made by great Greek philosopher Aristotle which clearly explains how closely linked “politics” is to “humanity”. In fact, so closely associated is politics with human beings that it can be experienced in every aspect of life. So be it within a family, between friends, or between spouses politics does tend to raise its ugly head from time-to-time. However, while there are many instances in life where politics can be dealt with by completely ignoring it, there are a few cases in which it cannot be ignored. One such classic example would be the politics that occurs within an office environment. Now, the politics that is prevalent within an office or within an organization is extremely complex and intriguing, and is mainly undertaken for either survival or to gain power/control. And so here is presenting a list of five common strategies that are used in office politics.
a. GOSSIP IN OFFICE POLITICS:
Gossip is an old human trait that is said to “spread faster than the speed of light”, and hence it is not surprising that in “office politics” it is used as a strategy basically in order to survive, and to try bring down any individual considered to be a threat. Furthermore, it is also used as a tool to control the flow of information within the office, thereby helping individuals to attain some control. In addition, gossip when used only helps in creating an extremely negative and hostile environment within the office premise which in turn leads to insecurity among workers which proves to be a boon for the top level management. Overall, gossip as a strategy in “office politics” is very effectively used by mainly selfish and insecure individuals who intend to eliminate competition and prolong their survival.
b. DIVIDE AND RULE IN OFFICE POLITICS:
With regards to “office politics” there are many games that are frequently used especially by the top management to maintain complete control over workers, and one such game used is known as “Divide and Rule”. In fact, this game is simply a policy that was used by the European masters (i.e. English, French, Portuguese etc) when they ruled over the colonies they formed in regions such as Asia, Africa etc. Furthermore, in terms of “office politics” this game is mainly used by the “top management”within an organization to break “unity” that could exists between workers, and thereby promote “disunity” among them. For example, a supervisor/manager/director/CEO by using a bait in the form various incentives (i.e. either monetary or through promotion) creates an an atmosphere of “uncertainty” thereby ensuring complete control over the organisation. And so all in all “divide and rule” is most definitely a game that regularly plays a major role in “office politics”, since it helps the management of the organization to maintain control by dividing the workforce.
c. CRONYISM IN OFFICE POLITICS:
Defined as “the appointment of friends and associates to the position of authority” is another key strategy known as “Cronyism” which is frequently used in “office politics”. Furthermore, this form of strategy basically involves a post within an organization being awarded to an individual who is either a friend or trusted associate of the CEO/director/supervisor etc. In other words a “crony” (i.e. a Yes man) possessing no appropriate qualifications for a given post is granted the power of leading a team. This strategy is basically used by the top management so as to maintain absolute control over an organization without any questions being asked. And so this strategy of “cronyism” forms a key feature in “office politics” since the appointment of a “crony” ultimately enables the management of an organization to maintain their power through a “Yes Man”.
d. NEPOTISM IN OFFICE POLITICS:
Nepotism is yet another strategy commonly witnessed in “office politics”, and occurs when an individual in power grants a post to a member belonging to his/her own family . Furthermore, this strategy is mainly observed in organizations that are operated by “a single large family”. In addition, this strategy is used by the family owning the organization mainly to maintain complete control over the operation. And so it would be safe to conclude that nepotism basically is a strategy used by any business family as an “emotional anchor” to keep their relatives happy, and also to ensure that the major decisions regarding the organization are taken by people within the family circle.
e. MANIPULATION IN OFFICE POLITICS:
Finally, among the many strategies used “manipulation” is the most frequently used tactic used by individuals working in an organization. Now, there are two types of manipulation that are mainly used in office politics. They are as follows:
1. Coercion/Influence and Sycophancy:
In any organization it is obvious that there are only a limited number of posts available, and hence to obtain a post there will be quite a few individuals who will be willing to use any tactic available under the sun to achieve their goal. And so one such “manipulative” strategy that an individual may want to use would be coercion/influence. Now, with regards to coercion/influence an individual will essentially look to gain a post by manipulating the people in power via the use of gifts or through the use of personal charm. Furthermore, sycophancy a tactic in which an individual totally becomes subservient to people in power so as to eventually gain benefits, is also very frequently used in many organizations as a tactic of manipulation.
The “Art of seduction” is a form of manipulation strategy that has been used by human beings in many fields of life for centuries now. Furthermore, this tactic involves the use of “sex” (mainly used by woman for obvious reasons) as a weapon to manipulate the individual in power and thereby gain an incentive either in the form of money or in the form of a promotion at work. In fact, this manipulation tactic is so ancient that even queen’s like Cleopatra used it to achieve their ambitions, and the reason for this being that “if a women knows how to use her body well she usually gets what she wants”.
In conclusion, it would be safe to say (from personal experiences) that the five strategies mentioned above are the most frequently used in “office politics” and will be continued to be made use of in the future as well as whether one likes it or not.
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