Share
Explore BrainMass

Leadership is understanding the politics of the organization

Leadership and organizational politics. ALAGSE. http://www.alagse.com/leadership/l3.php

In order to place this within a larger political context, however, is most useful for you to start by reviewing this excellent summary of issues in organizational politics:

Wilf Ratzburg, Defining Organizational Politics [Obnotes.Htm: available at http://web.archive.org/web/20080216010425/http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/1650/htmlpolitc01.html

You're going to need access to some of the vocabulary of leadership analysis, both for this case and for your future work. The following is an adequate general summary, cast in a largely nonacademic frame but still reflecting the academic analysis of leadership. (The optional readings and supplementary material contain considerable additional supporting material on leadership analysis if you would like to dig further into this aspect of the case.)

Clark, D. (N.D.) Leadership Styles. http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadstl.html

Marilyn Moats Kennedy in 1998 published "The new rules of leadership and organizational politics - In the Trenches" in Physician Executive (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0843/is_1_24/ai_102286818), but you don't need to be a doctor, or even be sick, to understand that power, politics, and leadership are integrally tied up, and that a leader needs to understand the political context within which s/he functions. Read this for the prescriptions offered -- and for a ten-year perspective on evolving trends.

For a newer take on the situation, please read this short summary on much the same topic:

Sun, C. (2009) 10 Ways To Survive Office Politics. Global Knowledge. Retrieved August 17, 2009, from http://www.globalknowledge.com/articles/generic.asp?pageid=2459&country=United+States

Case Assignment
Read these articles in light of the material that you have read on organizational leadership and politics, supplemented if you wish with material from the optional readings and perhaps the supplementary background as well, and even other outside reading you might find by yourself to be useful. Then write a short paper describing how the exercise of leadership depends on understanding the politics of the organization.

Try to sum up the key lessons of the Kennedy article in no more than two sentences. Then do the same for the Sun article.
To what degree do the two articles come to the same conclusions? Are there any areas where you see their advice as differing?
Are there any differences in the time frame or other context features of the two articles that might affect their conclusions about the relationship of politics to leadership??
Summarize your overall thoughts on the management of power in social relationships, the balance of personal vs. organizational responsibility for doing this management, and the relationship of this management (that is, politics) to leadership (please note -- there's no "one right answer" here, but when you've stated your conclusions, remember that you need to back up your argument with facts).
What, if anything, does thinking about an "organization as a political system" add to what we have learned by thinking about an "organization as a machine", an "organization as an organism", an "organization as a brain", and an "organization as a culture"?

Solution Preview

In the Kennedy article, "The new rules of leadership and organizational politics - In the Trenches" , the author provides in-depth analysis of the Baby Boomer mentality and politicking, and the politicking of younger staff. It was made clear that the younger employees are not intimidated by positional power and empower themselves in such a way as to be a threat to their superiors in the organizational hierarchy. The Sun article, on the other hand, focuses on how employees avoid becoming engaged in office politics and take the proverbial "high road".

Both articles addressed the need for non-offensive behavior. The Sun article stressed the importance of absenting oneself from the political environment and being neutral, as a means of avoiding being offensive. The Kennedy article, on the other hand, encouraged the physician executives to be proactive in avoiding offensive behavior to such an extent as to recommend faking humility if it is required, as the author suggests in this quote from the article, "Arrogance can undermine your effectiveness. False humility is better than none. Hypocrisy is vastly underrated as a means of gluing people together long enough to get the desired outcome."

The Kennedy ...

Solution Summary

In the Kennedy article the author provides in-depth analysis of the Baby Boomer mentality and politicking, and the politicking of younger staff. It was made clear that the younger employees are not intimidated by positional power and empower themselves in such a way as to be a threat to their superiors in the organizational hierarchy. The Sun article, on the other hand, focuses on how employees avoid becoming engaged in office politics and take the proverbial "high road".

$2.19