Academy for Political Intelligence

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Part of our service to the cause of creating more politically positive environments is to provide a forum where people can post their political dilemmas or challenges and to receive advice from the faculty members of the Academy. We will do our best to reply to those that re posted and to provide a pragmatic approach to reconciling your dilemmas.

Here are a range of commonly asked questions about the subject of organisational politics that have been asked by our clients and delegates from all over the world. Ask your own question and get it answered by the Academy’s experts by completing the question box at the bottom of this page.

Q. Does politics really exist?
A.It exists because people say it does. Many people experience political behaviour in a range of situations; for instance in their family and socially. There are occasionally organisations where delegates sometimes say political behaviours are not that common. However, it is invariably the case that other people from the same organisation have very different views.
Q.Why can’t we have an organisation where politics is banned?
A.Wherever people come together they will always be capable of misinterpreting other people’s behavior. Politics is an indisputable aspect of human behaviour. Additionally, organisations are not the rational, logical places that many people believe them to be. They are organic, irrational, and emotional. Decisions get made sometimes not because they are the right ones but because somebody, perhaps with considerable influence, is proposing them.
Q.When did it start?
A.We can point to the earliest manuscripts to show that politics has been with us from the beginning of time.
Q.I pride myself in not being political - Other people are political aren’t they?
A.What is ironic about this question is that they are asking the same question about you. Even if you don’t believe that you are political it doesn’t really change other people’s opinions of your behaviour and more importantly their interpretation of your behaviour.
Q.Are politics more common further up the organisation?
A.Experience and research shows that politics operates at all levels although people do have different perceptions. Looking up the organisation it is common to hear that people perceive Senior Managers to be political – the opposite is also true, Senior Managers look ‘down’ the organisation and complain about politics getting in the way of implementation. Our questionnaire – ‘How political is your organisation?’ clearly shows that as you go higher in the organisation the scores become lower and further towards staff who interact with customers the scores become higher.
Q.Are politics more common in larger organisations?
A.No. Research shows that politics operates in all sizes of organisation, public and private, in all areas of activity.
Q.Is politics used more by men than women?
A.A very tricky and sensitive question to answer. Research indicates there is some evidence that women are more political than men. The data is limited and it is the author’s experience that both genders have the potential to be as political as each other. The way in which political behaviour may be observed has the potential to be very different.
Q.You mentioned research – what and where is it?
A.Extracts from two of the more important pieces of research are included in the ‘Research and Resources’ pages of this website.

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