Office politics can have a positive effect says report

Business leaders urged to reverse the negative conotations of office politics

More and more businesses are using positive office politics to boost productivity, according to a new report.

The report, by executive education provider Roffey Park, shows how many businesses are changing the face of work based relationships by using political behaviour to positive effect.

According to a survey carried out by the group, 58 per cent of respondents claim they have experienced the constructive use of office politics with a further 61 per cent saying they have witnessed a positive outcome after personally engaging in political behaviour.

Back in 2002 a similar report found that office politics could reduce organisational productivity, create a lack of trust, increase internal conflict and lead to a greater resistance to change.

However, the updated report entitled ‘The Power of Constructive Politics’, seeks to dispel such beliefs as well as emphasise the role organisations can take to maintain positive working practice.

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.”

The report argues that constructive office politics is not achieved overnight and that a steady period of cultural development is the key to a more harmonious working environment.

Such developments may include congruence between corporate values and management, an acknowledged sense of corporate purpose and open communications between management and staff.

“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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