Office politics plays havoc with morale

Seven
out of 10 of the UK’s managers claim to have experienced the negative effects
of office politics, according to a new research report published by Roffey
Park.

Called
Politics in Organisations, the research study examines how, when, where and by
whom office politics is used and the impact it has on individual and
organisational performance.

The
research lists examples of office politics, such as networking to build a power
base; grasping opportunities to increase visibility; burying unfavourable information;
withholding useful information from rivals; scapegoating to avoid personal
blame and taking credit for others’ successes.

It
finds that nearly half of the 120 managers surveyed believe that
micro-political  behaviour in the
workplace has increased over the last three years. Only 7 per cent feel it has
waned.

This
raises concerns for author Linda Holbeche, director of research at Roffey Park,
who warns that when viewed as a negative influence office politics can reduce
organisational productivity; create a lack of trust and damage morale.

Other
negative effects include the exclusion of key people from the decision-making
processes, a loss of faith in top management and increased internal competition
and conflict.

Negative
office politics can also hamper knowledge sharing, prevent merit from being
rewarded and lead to the loss of valuable talent.

"Described
in terms such as manipulation, back-stabbing and the ‘dark side’, office
politics is predominantly viewed as detrimental to organisations and it is seen
to be on the increase," said Holbeche.

 By
Ben Willmott

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