Office politics can create positive outcomes

Office politics has always been thought to damage productivity, but new research claims it can be used for positive effect.


A survey of 856 HR professionals and business managers by the Roffey Park Management Institute reveals that 58 per cent of businesses have experienced ‘constructive office politics’.


A further 61 per cent of respondents say they have witnessed a positive outcome after personally engaging in ‘political behaviour’.


Linda Holbeche, director of research and strategy at Roffey Park, said: “Whether or not politics is used constructively in an organisation is largely dependent on the example set by senior managers.


“They set the political tone since they have the ability to reward or sanction behaviour in others lower down the hierarchy. If they are to be effective role models, they must take this responsibility seriously.”


A similar report published in 2002 found that organisational productivity fell when colleagues engage in such behaviour, because it creates a lack of trust, internal conflict and causes a greater resistance to change.


However, this year’s report – The Power of Constructive Politics – emphasises the moves organisations can make to maintain positive working practices.


“The organisational challenge is to create a culture which encourages the use of constructive political behaviour, rather than the more negative, self-serving type,” said Holbeche.


“For this to work, each individual’s agenda must be aligned to the organisational roles.”

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