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Legitimate Politics

Chapter
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Abstract

There is no opting out. Like it or not, politics play a central role in all organisations. Being a politician is part of the job for management. Our key objective now is to help the reader to appreciate the logic of constructive organisational politics, since without that starting point, no manager is likely to be motivated to enhance his or her own political skill. Emancipation from the myth of rationality is the goal, but that is much more difficult to achieve so long as politics are seen as illegitimate or, at best, a necessary organisational evil. Seasoned managers are often ambivalent towards politics once they accept that so many organisational decisions are driven by partisan interest, and that the idea of a meritocracy is more of an ideal than a reality. But ambivalence is no recipe for crystal-clear thinking, and will always be insufficient to generate an appetite for true political competence. Nothing short of a constructive political mindset will suffice. However, we can hardly expect you, the reader, to reach beyond the intellectual curiosity that has allowed us to keep your attention so far without offering a watertight rationale for thinking of politics as legitimate organisational activity. With this in mind, we will look in this chapter at the way in which power is thought about and used in organisations, and how this relates to the motivations of managers.

Keywords

Social Competence Organisational Politics Democratic Government Legitimate Politics Rational Organisation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© David Butcher and Martin Clarke 2001

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