The positives and negatives of organizational politics: a qualitative study

Landells, Erin M and Albrecht, Simon L 2017, The positives and negatives of organizational politics: a qualitative study, Journal of business and psychology, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 41-58, doi: 10.1007/s10869-015-9434-5.

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Title The positives and negatives of organizational politics: a qualitative study
Author(s) Landells, Erin M
Albrecht, Simon LORCID iD for Albrecht, Simon L
Journal name Journal of business and psychology
Volume number 32
Issue number 1
Start page 41
End page 58
Total pages 18
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2017-02
ISSN 0889-3268
Keyword(s) Perceptions of organizational politics
Positive politics
Qualitative research
Interpretive phenomenological analysis
Political behavior
Power bases
Summary The study aimed to develop a richer understanding of how employees perceive organizational politics in contemporary organizational contexts, and to identify whether organizational politics is described in both positive and negative terms. Design/methodology/approach: Individual in-depth interviews were conducted using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis with 14 employees across three organizations. Findings: Participants’ perceptions of organizational politics were interpreted according to four levels: reactive, reluctant, strategic, and integrated. The four levels captured how individuals defined, described, and perceived outcomes of organizational politics. Definitions included organizational politics as destructive and manipulative (reactive), as a necessary evil (reluctant), as a useful strategy that helps get things done (strategic), and as central to organizational functioning and decision-making (integrated). Political behaviors were described in terms that correspond to five established bases of organizational power: connection power, information power, coercive power, positional power, and personal power. Descriptions of organizational politics encompassed positive and negative individual and organizational outcomes. Implications: Traditional negatively framed definitions of organizational politics need to be extended and elaborated. Definitions of organizational politics need to accommodate a range of understandings. Originality/value: Despite numerous calls for qualitative research regarding organizational politics, this is one of very few qualitative studies in this area. The proposed classifications of levels, definitions, and behaviors complement and extend existing conceptualizations of organizational politics. We contribute an understanding of organizational politics that is more balanced than existing negatively skewed conceptualizations and that will have implications for measurement and management of organizational politics.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s10869-015-9434-5
Field of Research 1503 Business And Management
1701 Psychology
1505 Marketing
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Springer
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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