By David Butcher
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Extra resources for Smart Management, First Edition: Using Politics in Organisations
In the realms of government, politics in theory represent the battle of just causes. So long as causes are principled, and in the interests of others, there is no issue over the legitimacy of the activity of politics itself. A news item on BBC radio in May 2000 provides a helpful illustration of the potency of this idea. The item reported that David Trimble, the leader of the Ulster Unionists in Northern Ireland, had postponed a meeting of the Unionists for a week so that he was able to build support for the latest peace proposal by the IRA.
01:1Bu/Cl Quark CHAPTER2 The Illegitimacy of Politics This chapter will explore in more detail why politics is such a dominant organisational feature. We will begin by exploring the different mindsets that managers form about the world in which they work. These make an important contribution to the way managers interpret their organisational roles, and our purpose, of course, will be to highlight politics as a highly significant mindset. We will show how this both fits and jars with the ‘official’ mindset – that of rational hierarchy.
It is a situation mirrored in many organisations. Khalil was prepared to work with covert political motives, but how many in his situation would have done the same? The persistent acceptance of the hierarchical imperative by many managers would have left them with no way out, unable to see the kind of solution that Khalil identified. Even where you might least expect to find it, as, for instance, in knowledge intensive industries like consultancies or universities, the rational mindset is alive and well.