Office politics is one of the huge factors leading to loss in productivity. Office politics not only demoralizes workforce but also brings out the deep seated inefficiencies in the system.
An office workplace like every other workplace is full of opposing forces. There are people who would like to see a project succeed and others who would like to see it as a failure. These two set of people often work in opposite to make sure that there is status quo remains.
In one of the case that I had seen, a company division did not want to implement better software because of influence from the team of old software maintenance risked losing their job. This group ensured that new software was not implemented. As a result, the productivity and efficiency of the division suffered. In the end, the group was broken up by senior management and new software implemented. A six month implementation lasted for two years.
In every organization, now and then a few groups get popular. These groups ensure that others do not get ahead despite good performance. These groups are often led by people who like to maintain status quo. These groups rarely communicate with each other, instead their emails are more like shirking responsibility and saving their own lives.
There is also one lethal problem about office politics. The employee needs to be aligned with a group. If not, he or she is seen to be risking promotions and pay hikes. This is a damn if you do and damn if you don’t kind of situation.
Here are few really bad effects of office politics
- Reduced employee morale
- More focus on alignment rather than performance
- reduced productivity
- Higher resignations
- Undermining of leadership
- Project objectives becoming lesser than the individual group leaders objective
- Promotion is based on the closeness to the power centre
- Slower speed of project execution
Why Office politics becomes so strong?
This kind of office politics happens when there is an absence of leadership. Top management often refuse to take action because it is not high on priority. Slowly the processes and resources are subverted by junior level employees to their own ends. Small things add up and office politics tend to become a big monster. Top management needs to take action before it is too late.