Influence of Politics on Organizational Culture

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Influence of Politics on Organizational Culture

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Introduction

In every organization, leaders seek to establish a system of doing things so that the best out-put is achieved in the most efficient way; this is what is called organizational culture. Therefore, in intra-organizational relationships, the concepts of power and politics are inevitable and they shape and reshape the type of organizational culture and management style that is to be adopted in organizations. At Healthcare Service Group (HCSG) Inc. power comes in terms of ensuring that policies and cultural aspects in organizations are implemented in the way the management seems fit (Landells & Albrecht, 2017). The HCSG Company was founded in 1976 and specializes on delivering exceptional laundry, housekeeping, nutritional services, and dining services to the evolving and dynamic healthcare market. Just like most other companies, internal politics have influenced the type of culture adopted by the company.

Politics and power are contesting forces that play important roles in determining the level of influencing the management has when it comes to the creation of a successful organizational culture, and the level of instability internal forces can create when it comes to organizational productivity.

Influence of Politics and Power

A close look at Healthcare Service Group Inc. confirms that the way organizations are run lie within concepts of politically negotiated streams that create either order or chaos, which makes surviving in organizations a form of a political act (Byrne et al., 2017). In his research on the role of politics in organizational managements and productivity, Schmid et al. (2015), outlines that political interactions dominate organizational life and it is the management’s tactical use of power that determine the level of influence and control it has over its human resource. To be able to retain organizational control at HCSG, leaders have learned on how to deal with organizational politics so as to maintain its human resource and maintain productivity.

As a result, the culture created in an organization is not devoid of personal interests cultivated by interest groups in any organization. The level of internal organizational politics determine whether the culture of the organization favor the management, the employees, or it cuts across the two factions in terms of addressing their interests (Landells & Albrecht, 2017). As a result, HCSG has adopted a balance between the exercise of power by its management, and the level of politics it faces from its employees so as to ensure it retains control and at the same time ensures performance.

Both the management and the employees have interests that differ most of the times, and that is where organizational politics come in. HCSG employs negotiations and sometimes forceful means to be able to exercise its power over its subjects while at the same time ensuring that it controls the politicking to tolerable levels. In the company, politics may come in forms of work groups which form as a result of departmental differences. It may also set in in form of interest groups which is a stronger political angle as the actors are aware of the common goals that they have and the interest to go beyond just their work conduct and interdependence. In the end, it may sometimes graduate to coalitions whereby the actors get fully committed to achieving common goals that do not necessarily rhyme with organizational productivity goals (Byrne et al., 2017).

Sources of Power

Organizational power at HCSG is the driving force behind exercising influence on the company’s employees and in taming the level of organizational politics that are in play. The ability to mobilize resources, employ force, and exercise the management’s will towards achievement of the defined organizational goals despite the resistant put in place is what is defined as power (Landells & Albrecht, 2017). According to Schmid et al. (2015), power is not necessarily a forceful measure, it also comes in form of the ability to have charismatic and desirable leadership qualities that surpass the internal political connotations aimed at creating instability in organizational management, which help leaders influence followership and make decision-making easier.

Therefore, there are various sources of power that HCSG has adopted along the way in order to ensure productivity and control intra-organizational politics. The first one which is seldom used is coercion; this entails the use of threats and punishment in getting things done. At the departmental level, the expertise-power which entails acquisition of influence based on the belief by others that one bears the right expertise to lead accurately is employed. Leaders whose expertise is admired are put in charge of various departments to guide others (Byrne et al., 2017).

HCSG also recognizes the use of rewards as a source of its power, which is a concept that entails maximizing on the outcomes of the employer by releasing or withholding something desired by the employee. In this case, employees who have done well are recognized and rewarded as a motivation for future performance to others. Then there is the referent-power which entails the ability to influence based on the credibility given by others. The company has been able to employ charismatic leaders who have become a positive influence to the company. The other main source of power is information; it is entails the ability to access information on inner organizational leadership operations and using it to demand for change. As a result, HCSG ensures that it protects its information from falling in the wrong hands and in the end stirring unnecessary political turmoil that would affect productivity (Byrne et al., 2017).

Leadership Behavior and Culture

The workers Union at HCSG is very influential and the politics that often arise in most cases ensure that even though leaders are in control, they do not overstep their mandate and start exploiting employees. However, it is notable that sometimes such politics have led to negative employees’ performance and productivity as a result of negative influence from a few self-centered leaders (Schmid et al., 2015).

Leaders at HCSG have led by example and they have created a culture of collaboration, communication, and client-centered approach in their daily duties. As a result, the company recognizes the importance of its workforce and puts their interests at the forefront, and this has led to more productivity in the company. In case of any aspect affecting employees, the company has a platform that enable employees to air their concerns while ensuring that they reach the top management for redress. The leadership behavior has therefore led to appreciable organizational culture (“Healthcare Services Group Mission, Benefits, and Work Culture”, 2019).

A research exploration done by Landells & Albrecht (2017) outlines that the study of power and politics in organizations showcase where a line between protecting factional interests, maintaining control, productivity, and doing what is right lies. As a result, striking a balance between power and politics influence desirable leadership behavior that in the end culminate to improved organizational culture that ensures productivity and protects the interests of the interest groups involved without losing control of the organization.

Leadership Influence

The type of leadership adopted by any organization dictate a lot on the level of influence it has on the people being led. Leadership styles simply dictate the types of powers adopted in influencing organizational goals while ensuring productivity (Byrne et al., 2017). Organizational culture is therefore largely dependent on the type of leadership put in place. If leaders initiate an open communication and collaborative working style and policies, then employees are influenced to adopt these qualities as intricate cultural aspects that define the way they do things. Therefore the collaborative leadership style at HCSG has created culture that empowers and motivates employees. The level of politics in the organization is therefore low as employee’s interests are being met in the best way possible. Organizational politics therefore play an important control-role when it comes to regulation of leadership power and influence, and in the process setting an organizational culture that safeguards the interests of the opposing parties (Landells & Albrecht, 2017).

Conclusion

Leadership is an important factor when it comes to creation of a reliable organizational culture that can assure continued productivity. For example, at HCSG, the strike of balance between power and politics has determined the level of productivity being enjoyed by the company today. The forces of power and politics always exist in organizations and they influence on the type of culture to be adopted. In a bid to establish control and stability, it is the management’s tactical use of power that determine the level of influence and control it has over its human resource. Power comes from various sources that range from coercion, legitimacy, information, referent power, expertise, to rewards. These are tools that the management use to influence decision making and create a culture adopted by at least majority of the employees. However, it is established that organizational politics can either act as a tool that regulates that power in safeguard of interests of various factions in the organization, or it can act as a disruptive force that impacts negatively on productivity.

References

Byrne, Z. S., Manning, S. G., Weston, J. W., & Hochwarter, W. A. (2017). All roads lead to well-being: Unexpected relationships between organizational politics perceptions, employee engagement, and worker well-being. In Power, politics, and political skill in job stress (pp. 1-32). Emerald Publishing Limited.

Healthcare Services Group Mission, Benefits, and Work Culture | Indeed.com. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Healthcare-Services-Group/about

Landells, E. M., & Albrecht, S. L. (2017). The positives and negatives of organizational politics: A qualitative study. Journal of business and psychology32(1), 41-58.

Schmid, T., Ueberbacher, F., Fleming, P., Spicer, A., & Vaara, E. (2015). Strategy and Inter-organizational Power Theory.




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