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Sanctioned Versus Non-sanctioned Political Tactics.

Organizations are becoming increasingly political entities and the field of political behavior is vastly recognized as important in the everyday life of organizational members. In general, the competitive nature of business today has made the use of politics more prevalent. Several reasons for this tendency can be drawn from a broad framework developed by Pfeffer (Pfeffer, 1981; Pfeffer 1992a) in which interdependence, heterogeneous goals and beliefs, scarcity and distribution of power increase the use of politics in organizations. For example, the trend toward flat organizations with fewer hierarchical levels results in fewer opportunities for vertical advancement. Likewise, downsizing underscores for people the risk of losing one's position. Also, in today's organizations, the traditional authority structure has been weakening. As a result, the use of political behaviors has become more prevalent. For example, in a typical matrix structure, coordination and balance between product and function is achieved m ainly by political means and negotiation. Therefore, the relevance of understanding political tactics is critical in helping people work together more fluidly and effectively. Given the trends toward flatter organizations, downsizing, teamwork, and the elimination of hierarchical lines, knowing more about the ways people use political tactics will help organizations function more effectively, recognizing and reducing dysfunctional political tactics.

The purpose of this study is to take a preliminary step in understanding the differences in the positive and negative aspects of politics at work, providing insights into the various ways that people use and perceive political tactics. Thus, this study considers both sanctioned and non-sanctioned political tactics in two ways: people's frequency of use of political tactics and their perceptions of the tactics' social desirability. In this article, we first review the literature on organizational politics, considering the various ways that politics at work has been defined. Next, we specifically consider political tactics, offering hypotheses on categories of political tactics, people's perceptions of the social desirability of political tactics, and differences in people's frequency of use compared with their perceptions of the social desirability of political tactics. Using data collected from MBA students, we next present results of exploratory analyses that consider respondents' reported frequency of use v ersus perceptions of the social desirability of both sanctioned and non-sanctioned political tactics. Finally, we discuss our results, suggesting implications for researchers and practitioners alike, as well as recommending several directions for future research on political tactics.

Literature Review and Definitions of Organizational Politics

Researchers agree that political behavior is a normal part of doing business (Ferris et al., 1996; Ferris and Kacmar, 1992; Williams and Dutton, 2000). Nonetheless, researchers also agree that this concept has received insufficient attention in the organizational literature (Drory and Romm, 1990; Ferris et al., 1996; Ferris and Kacmar, 1992; Gandz and Murray, 1980). In addition, there is no common basic definition that captures the entire complexity of organizational politics (Drory and Romm, 1990). While consensus has not yet been achieved in defining organizational politics, there are two primary definitions that capture much of the research in this area (Cropanzano et al., 1997). One perspective is a general one that defines politics as a very broad and general set of social behaviors that can contribute to the basic functioning of the organization (Pfeffer, 1981). In this view, politics can be either functional or dysfunctional.

The second more common view of politics among researchers is a more narrow and specific one (Cropanzano et al., 1997). This definition of politics focuses on behaviors that are self-serving and not sanctioned by the organization (Farrell and Petersen, 1982; Ferris et al., 1989; Ferris et al., 1996; Gandz and Murray, 1980; Schein, 1977). Interestingly, however, not all self-serving political behavior is necessarily dysfunctional to the organization. Nevertheless, this perspective suggests that the use of political behaviors has typically been considered inappropriate and unacceptable. In fact, Mintzberg defined political behavior as "individual or group behavior that is informal, ostensibly parochial, typically divisive, and above all in a technical sense, illegitimate--sanctioned neither by authority, accepted ideology or certified expertise" (1983: 172). Likewise, while Mayes and Allen (1977) differentiated between sanctioned and non-sanctioned behavior, their framework identified primarily non-sanctioned b ehaviors as those that were organizationally dysfunctional.

Within these two perspectives, much of the existing research on organizational politics has focused on people's perception of how politics operate in their organizations. Specifically, research often considers people's perceptions of politics that result from the behavior of supervisors and co-workers and from organizational policies and practices (Ferris et al., 1989, 1996; Ferris and Kacmar, 1992; Gandz and Murray, 1980; Madison et al., 1980). In contrast, however, there is less research that considers a comprehensive range of political tactics that people may use (e.g., Kipnis et al., 1980; Strauss, 1962; Zanzi et al., 1991).

While previous organizational research has been concerned primarily with either a general definition of politics that considers both positive and negative aspects of politics or a specific definition that focuses solely on negative political behaviors, in this article we seek to extend research by integrating these two perspectives. More specifically, we propose that there are political behaviors that are considered both positive and negative. In addition, while some research considers the perception of organizational politics, we consider organizational politics in terms of the specific political tactics that people use. Thus, we are interested in understanding both the positive and the negative political tactics that people actually employ at work.

Categories of Political Tactics

We believe that political tactics can be classified into two categories that correspond with the general perspective that considers both positive and negative aspects of politics: political tactics that are sanctioned and political tactics that are not sanctioned. Mayes and Allen (1977) first proposed the sanctioned--non-sanctioned distinction as a key factor for understanding the role of politics in organizations. Vrendenburgh and Maurer (1984) extended this perspective by suggesting that the sanctioned--non-sanctioned classification can best be viewed in light of organizational norms. More specifically, in this view, political behavior can be considered non-sanctioned when it deviates from organizational norms. Non-sanctioned political tactics encompass behaviors that people would not want others to know they are using. Perhaps, because a consequence of using non-sanctioned political tactics could be ultimately dismissal from the organization, individuals using these tactics are likely to be highly secreti ve about them. In short, these tactics are considered unacceptable, undesirable, and negative.

In contrast, sanctioned political tactics are ones that people consider acceptable because they are part of the organization's norms (Vrendenburgh and Maurer, 1984). In other words, sanctioned political tactics are typically tolerated, expected, or even encouraged. Perhaps, because use of these tactics might be considered desirable, organizational members are likely to want others to know they are using them. In sum, these tactics are considered acceptable, desirable, and positive. While Mayes and Allen (1977) and Vrendenburgh and Maurer (1984) also consider means and ends in understanding the complexity of organizational politics, in this study we consider sanctioned and non-sanctioned political tactics by themselves as a first step in understanding the differences between them. The present study considers a number of different variables associated with sanctioned and non-sanctioned political tactics to better understand these two distinct categories. Based on the previous discussion, we offer the following hypothesis.

Hypothesis 1: There are two distinct categories of political tactics: sanctioned and non-sanctioned.

People's Perceptions of the Social Desirability of Political Tactics

While existing research has differentiated some political tactics as organizationally sanctioned and others as non-sanctioned, little is known about peoples' use of different political tactics compared with their perceptions of the social desirability of the same political tactics. Social desirability is a topic that has been considered in organizational research (e.g., Podsakoff and Organ, 1986; Zerbe and Paulhaus, 1987). Indeed, research suggests that social desirability is an issue of importance in studies of political tactics because of the potential for response bias (e.g., Zerbe and Paulhaus, 1987). Interestingly, however, to the best of our knowledge there is no research directly centered on people's perceptions of the social desirability of political tactics given their own personal value system. Nevertheless, existing research on political tactics can be extended to suggest that people's perceptions of the social desirability of political tactics will also fall into sanctioned versus non-sanctioned categories.

Hypothesis 2: People's perceptions of the social desirability of political tactics will fall into two distinct categories: sanctioned and non-sanctioned.

Differences in Frequency of Use and Perceptions of Social Desirability of Political Tactics

People may not always employ the political tactics they consider more socially desirable, nor refrain from using those political tactics they consider as less socially desirable. Some research seems to imply that political tactics in organizations take place outside of what are considered the organizational norms (e.g., Porter et al., 1981). Perhaps, this implication helps explain why people are reluctant to discuss non-sanctioned types of political tactics or admit that they use them (Pfeffer, 1981). While people may not be as comfortable admitting their use of non-sanctioned tactics compared with sanctioned tactics, it is likely that individuals use both types of political tactics in organizations. However, it is unclear which political tactics people actually use compared with those they think are acceptable to use. In essence, while people perceive some political tactics as more socially desirable than others, their perceptions of the social desirability of individual political tactics will not necessari ly be the same as the frequency of use of these tactics. Therefore, we propose that while people are likely to consider non-sanctioned political tactics as not socially desirable in their value system, we believe that they will frequently use these non-sanctioned tactics for reasons of expediency or to get a hedge in advancing their careers. Similarly, we believe that while people are likely to consider sanctioned political tactics socially desirable in their value system, they will not be frequently applied since their widespread use seldom generates a competitive advantage for the person using them. Based on the foregoing discussion, we offer the following hypotheses.

Hypothesis 3a: For sanctioned political tactics, people's ratings of social desirability will be greater than their frequency of use.

Hypothesis 3b: For non-sanctioned political tactics, people's frequency of use will be greater than their ratings of social desirability.

Method

Sample

Two questionnaires were completed by 288 MBA students enrolled in several sections of an advanced organizational behavior course at an established northeastern university. The questionnaires were administered separately. The first questionnaire asked students how frequently they use different political tactics, and was administered in the third week of the semester after the topic of power and politics had been introduced. The second questionnaire asked students about their perceptions of the social desirability of the same political tactics according to their value system and experience level. To help reduce the likelihood of response bias, the second questionnaire was administered to the same students three weeks after the first questionnaire to allow for adequate distance (Zerbe and Paulhaus, 1987). Students were assured of complete confidentiality and were given the option to remain anonymous, thereby further reducing the chance of response bias (Zerbe and Paulhaus, 1987). To allow for the pairing of res ponses and to assure anonymity, students were asked to identify both surveys using either their name, their initials, or a symbol of their own choosing.

Respondents were 55.8% male and 44.2% female. Their ages ranged from 22 to 57, with a mean of 30.9 years (standard deviation 6.3). Respondents were employed in a variety of functional areas including accounting (21%),finance (12%),marketing (11%), operations (8%), and sales (6%), with the remaining 42% distributed among general management, human resource management, administration, management information systems, engineering, research, and other specific job types indicated by the respondents. The mean length of stay with their present organization was 5 years (standard deviation 4.5 years).

Measures

Versions of the questionnaire developed by Zanzi et al. (1991) were used to measure both the frequency of use and social desirability of 24 different political tactics. In both questionnaires, each tactic was labeled and then briefly described. The first questionnaire asked respondents how frequently they currently use each political tactic at work. All items were rated using a five-point scale ranging from "very little" to "extensive." The second questionnaire asked the respondents to rate the social desirability of each of the same 24 political tactics according to their value system and experience. All items were rated using a five-point scale ranging from "very undesirable" to "very desirable." The 24 political tactic items and their description are provided in Table 1.

Results

Factor Analyses

Given the exploratory nature of this study, we first conducted a series of exploratory factor analyses on the frequency of use of political tactics. In all analyses, principal factor analysis with varimax rotation was used. We first performed an exploratory factor analysis on all 24 of the political tactic items without specifying any particular number of factors. Although this solution generated six-factors, only the first two factors consisted of several high-loading items; moreover, as with Zanzi et al. (1991), two factors were the most interpretable. Thus, following Zanzi et al., (1991) we next specified a two-factor solution to produce the most interpretable factors.

The results of this factor analysis are shown in Table 2. Examination of the eigenvalues indicates that the two factors derived for the frequency of political tactics explain approximately 37% of the variance. Two rules were used to select items that best represent each of the factors. First, all selected items had to have a factor loading greater than or equal to .50. Second, items had to clearly load on one factor; items with similar loadings on both factors were not included. Using these rules, items were selected for each of the two factors. The first factor consisted of six items that reflect a construct labeled sanctioned political tactics: "use of expertise," "super-ordinate goals," "image building," "networking," "persuasion," and "coalition building." The second factor consisted of seven items that reflect a construct labeled non-sanctioned political tactics: "intimidation and innuendoes," "using surrogates," "blaming or attacking others," "manipulation," "organizational placement," "co-optation," a nd "control of information."

Next, to provide further support for this two-factor solution for the frequency of use of political tactics, the 13 items that defined the rotated factors were reanalyzed. In this factor analysis, because we expected there would be two factors, we specified a two-factor solution. This solution is shown in Table 3. The items loaded together in the exact manner as the previous analysis, thereby providing further support for two factors that comprise sanctioned and non-sanctioned political tactics. The two factors derived for the selected 13 items of frequency of political tactics explain approximately 49% of the variance. The seven non-sanctioned political tactics items and the six sanctioned political tactics items each loaded on the expected factor with a factor loading of at least .48; moreover, 10 of the 13 factor loadings were greater than .50. In addition, no items had similar loadings on the other factor.

A factor analysis was next conducted on respondents' assessment of the social desirability of political tactics. Given the results of the first set of factor analyses, we conducted factor analysis on the 13 items measuring social desirability of those political tactics that were identified as sanctioned and non-sanctioned in terms of respondents' frequency of use. Again, principal factor analysis with varimax rotation was used. As with the frequency of use of political tactics, we expected there would be two factors representing respondents' perceptions of the social desirability of political tactics; thus, we specified a two-factor solution. The resulting factor loadings are shown in Table 4. The items loaded together in the exact manner as the analyses of frequency of use of political tactics, thereby providing support for two factors that comprise perceptions of the social desirability of political tactics: sanctioned and non-sanctioned. The two factors derived for the selected 13 items explain approximat ely 37% of the variance. The seven non-sanctioned political tactics items and the six sanctioned political tactics items each loaded on the expected factor with a factor loading of at least .34; moreover, 11 of the 13 factor loadings were greater than .40. In addition, no items had similar loadings on the other factor. Thus, there is support for two categories representing people's perceptions of the social desirability of political tactics: sanctioned and non-sanctioned.

Overall, the factor analyses of both the frequency of use of political tactics as well as the social desirability of political tactics items provide support for the distinction between sanctioned and non-sanctioned political tactics. With respect to sanctioned tactics, the factor structure for the social desirability of political tactics was identical to the items identified as sanctioned by the factor analysis of the frequency of political tactics. Thus, there is preliminary evidence that six items represent a construct of sanctioned political tactics: "use of expertise," "super-ordinate goals," "networking," "coalition building," "persuasion," and "image building." Likewise, the factor structure for the social desirability of non-sanctioned political tactics was also identical to the items identified by the factor analysis of the frequency of political tactics. Thus, there is preliminary evidence that seven items represent non-sanctioned political tactics: "intimidation and innuendoes," "manipulation," "co -optation," "control of information," "using surrogates," "organizational placement," and "blaming or attacking others."

Scales and Reliabilities

Based on the results of the factor analyses for both frequency of use of political tactics and social desirability of political tactics, scales were created for each to represent sanctioned political tactics and non-sanctioned political tactics by computing the average of the sum of the items. Specifically, sanctioned political tactics were represented by the six items: use of expertise," "super-ordinate goals," "image building," "networking," "persuasion," and "coalition building." Non-sanctioned political tactics were represented by the seven items: "intimidation and innuendoes," "using surrogates," "blaming or attacking others," "manipulation," "organizational placement," "co-optation," and "control of information." We then calculated the reliability estimates as measured by Cronbach's alpha. Reliability estimates for frequency of use of political tactics were .77 for sanctioned and .82 for non-sanctioned. Hence, the reliabilities for the scales representing frequency of use of political tactics exceeded the .70 criterion suggested by Nunnally (1967) and were considered acceptable. For social desirability of political tactics, reliability estimates were .69 for sanctioned and .63 for non-sanctioned. While the reliabilities of the scales representing social desirability of political tactics did not quite meet the .70 criterion suggested by Nunnally, they come close to this guideline. Moreover, at a conceptual level, it is important to understand respondents' perceptions of the social desirability of political tactics so that they can be compared with respondents' frequency of use of political tactics.

T-Tests

Given the exploratory nature of this study, in an effort to further understand differences in sanctioned and non-sanctioned political tactics, we next examined the differences in the means of people's frequency of use compared with their perceptions of the social desirability. Specifically, we conducted paired samples t-tests for frequency of use and perceptions of social desirability for each of the 13 selected political tactics. The results are provided in Table 5.

The results of the paired samples t-tests show that for 12 of the 13 political tactics, there was a significant difference between people's frequency of use and their perceptions of social desirability. Moreover, for the six sanctioned political tactics ("use of expertise," "super-ordinate goals," image building," "networking," "persuasion," and "coalition building") the comparison of means suggests that people see each of these particular political tactics as more socially desirable than frequently used. Of the seven non-sanctioned political tactics, there was no significant difference between people's frequency of use and their perceptions of social desirability for only one tactic: "control of information." Comparison of means suggests that people see three of the non-sanctioned political tactics as more frequently used than socially desirable: "intimidation and innuendoes," "manipulation," and "blaming or attacking others." In contrast, comparison of means further suggests that people see three of the no n-sanctioned political tactics as more socially desirable than frequently used: "co-optation," "using surrogates," and "organizational placements."

Discussion

Implications for Managers and Researchers

In general, this study provides support for two clear categories of political tactics: sanctioned and non-sanctioned. To date, a wide body of research has focused primarily on non-sanctioned negative politics. One reason that political tactics are likely to have negative connotations is because people associate them with self-serving attempts to increase personal gain at the expense of the organizational good (Williams and Dutton, 2000). Indeed, in an environment where non-sanctioned negative political tactics flourish, there are many negative individual and organizational consequences. Specifically, individuals are less focused on organizational goals (Madison et al., 1980), the flow of information is restricted and decisions are not made as quickly (Eisenhardt and Bourgeois, 1988), excitement about innovation is lessened (Parker et al., 1995), employee stress is increased (Cropanzano et al, 1997; Ferris et al, 1996), employee job involvement and satisfaction is decreased (Madison et al, 1980), and valuable people leave the organization (Pfeffer, 1992b). For example, when people feel they have been manipulated, their ability to trust is certain to be seriously undermined (Williams and Dutton, 2000). Nonetheless, negative, non-sanctioned political tactics are not necessarily always ineffective or dysfunctional to the organization. Under certain circumstances, such as emergencies or severe crisis, they might be helpful in achieving the goals of the organization. Therefore, becoming aware of such tactics and the value the culture of the organization attaches to them can enable organizational members to better navigate the political environment.

While political tactics are typically associated with negative behaviors and outcomes, some political tactics can also serve useful purposes in organizations. More specifically, those political tactics that are sanctioned by the organization are not only acceptable for people to use, but also positively affect organizational performance. For example, Brown's (1995) example of how coalition building can contribute to a project's success underscores the point that political behavior is not inherently negative. Similarly, through the use of persuasion, managers can use sanctioned political tactics in a positive way to inspire people to cooperate and work to achieve organizational goals.

The results also provide support that while people perceive a difference in terms of the social desirability of sanctioned versus non-sanctioned political tactics, the frequency with which they use specific tactics does not necessarily correspond to their perceptions of the social desirability of the same tactics. Most notably, the analyses indicate that individuals' perceptions of the socially desirability of the six identified sanctioned political tactics is greater than the frequency with which they use these tactics. In other words, while people see value in sanctioned political tactics, they do not use them as frequently as they think is desirable. As a case in point, networking is perceived as more socially desirable than frequently used, perhaps because people realize the possible positive individual and organizational outcomes that can emerge from using this type of sanctioned tactic.

The results further suggest that for three non-sanctioned political tactics-"intimidation and innuendoes," "manipulation," and "blaming or attacking others"--people's perceptions of their social desirability is less than the frequency with which they use them. In other words, people use these three non-sanctioned tactics more frequently than they think is socially desirable. Perhaps this is because, as Pfeffer (1981) suggests, not only are people unwilling to admit they use negative political tactics, but they even attempt to conceal that they engage in these behaviors because they are aware they are unacceptable.

Interestingly, for three of the identified non-sanctioned political tactics--"organizational placements," "using surrogates," and "co-optation"--individuals' perceptions of the socially desirability of these tactics is greater than the frequency with which they use them. While we had originally expected that their frequency would be greater than social desirability for these non-sanctioned political tactics, the results suggests that perhaps people see their potential value. For example, organizational placements may be desirable because they place agreeable people into strategic positions. Similarly, the use of surrogates could very well have positive organizational implications by facilitating the implementation of new procedures. Finally, the use of co-optation could be desirable if the controlled counterpart would be otherwise dysfunctional. In addition, one non-sanctioned political tactic-- "control of information"--showed no difference in people's perceptions of its social desirability compared with ho w frequently they use it. One possible interpretation of this is that selectively distributing information can be viewed in both a positive and negative light. Thus, the results did not entirely support our original hypothesis, indicating that people's perceptions of three non-sanctioned political tactics are greater than the frequency with which they use them and that there is no difference between people's perceptions of one non-sanctioned political tactic and the frequency with which they use it. While there may be a dominant assumption that political tactics are inherently negative, our results indicate that some political tactics are viewed as socially desirable.

The strong negative connotations associated with non-sanctioned political tactics might be traced to the pre dominant assumption of rationality that is embedded in organizations. The theory of market competition in macroeconomics, together with functional rationality and strategic contingency of organizational behavior (Galbraith, 1977; Thompson, 1967), strongly legitimize the existing power distribution in organizations. In other words, technical expertise, managerial skills, and loyalty to organizational goals of efficiency, profit, and market performance help justify existing positions of power and authority. It also reinforces the implicit expectation that following organizational norms will be rewarded with advancement and higher authority positions. To suggest that those with power are not totally committed and supportive of profit maximization or, even worse, that they use or condone the use of politics to pursue personal interests can undermine the very "social contract" that legitimizes the existing power structure (Pfeffer, 1981). Non-sanctioned political tactics tend therefore to be denied, considered undesirable and kept secret. They are nevertheless present in organizations, either to get the job done by circumventing bureaucratic impediments, or to pursue personal interest and goals inconsistent with rational organizational objectives.

In sum, the results of this study point to several implications for both practitioners and researchers. From a managerial perspective, awareness and understanding of the role of sanctioned and non-sanctioned political tactics presents potential benefits for managers and professionals alike. In addition to the managerial implications discussed above, external consultants can also benefit from this work. For example, a consultant's ability to assess sanctioned political tactics as well as non-sanctioned ones could be advantageous in helping to understand the client's culture and improve the overall effectiveness of a change intervention. From a research standpoint, this study both builds on an extends existing research on politics at work. In addition to the research implications discussed above, specific future directions for research on political tactics are discussed in the next section.

Conclusions, Limitations, and Directions for Future Research

This study takes an initial step in exploring some of the differences between sanctioned and non-sanctioned political tactics as well as people's perceptions of their social desirability compared with their frequency of use. This study provides a first glimpse into the interesting dynamics of both positive and negative political tactics. To further understand this complex domain, future research is clearly needed on this topic. In light of the exploratory nature of this study, a number of possible directions for future research are offered.

One clear avenue for future research is the investigation of why people sometimes use certain political tactics more frequency than they perceive is socially desirable or vice versa. As discussed above, our results indicate that the frequency with which people use specific tactics is not always the same as their perceptions of the social desirability of those tactics. For some political tactics frequency was greater than social desirability while for others political tactics social desirability was greater than frequency. In other words, where politics are concerned, people are sometimes inconsistent in their usage of tactics compared with their perceptions of the social desirability of the same tactics. What is unclear, however, is why at times people do not use sanctioned political tactics more frequently and non-sanctioned political tactics less frequently. Clearly, further research is needed to better understand these questions.

Another related area for future research would consider the ways that people react to and make sense of possible cognitive dissonance that may arise from inconsistencies in their use and perceptions of social desirability of political tactics. For example, because people may not be comfortable with the idea of behaving in one way while they think another way is more acceptable, future research might consider the impact on individual stress levels. Research that investigates how people make sense of and manage the differences in frequency of use compared with social desirability of specific political tactics will provide insights that will further our understanding of sanctioned and non-sanctioned political tactics.

Similarly, future research should also consider various predictors and outcomes of the use of sanctioned and non-sanctioned political tactics. In particular, research could examine the effects of structural, personal, and situational variables on the political tactics. For example, data collected from a highly mechanistic organizational type could be compared to data collected from an organic organizational type to provide insights into the different ways that different organizational types affect the usage of sanctioned versus non-sanctioned political tactics. With respect to individual predictors of political tactics, future research might investigate whether individuals who are high in self-monitoring are likely to both use political tactics more often and view political behavior more positively compared to those individuals who are low self-monitors. Similarly, personal variables might indicate that some individuals are uncomfortable using non-sanctioned political tactics while others might be comfortabl e with or even proud of violating organizational norms with their use of non-sanctioned political tactics. With respect to outcomes, future research might consider the benefits, risks and results of using certain political tactics in terms of individual career advancement and organizational performance.

Finally, in order to enhance the generalizability of the findings, additional data should be collected from other populations. In particular, the findings are limited because the data were collected solely from MBA candidates. Thus, future research should consider how sanctioned and non-sanctioned political tactics operate among managers as well as non-managers. In sum, future research should examine more heterogeneous samples to provide further insights into sanctioned versus non-sanctioned political tactics.

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Table 1 -- Political Tactics

1. EXCHANGE OF FAVORS: Trading present or future favors or obligations with another party according to one's vested interests (Quid Pro Quo: I will do it, but you owe me one.)

2. CO-OPTATION: Merging or incorporating another power group or individual for the purpose of controlling or silencing a counterpart (for example, incorporating a quality control function into a power line).

3. RITUALS AND SYMBOLS: Using formal ceremonies (nominations, awards presentations, sales meetings, etc.) and symbols of power (office location and furniture, reserved parking, executive dining room, etc.) to enhance or consolidate one's position.

4. MANIPULATION: Seeking to win another party over to your point of view through distortion of reality or misrepresentation of intentions (including selective disclosure and "objective" speculation about individuals or situations).

5. MENTOREE: Being the junior member of a membership relation (looking up to a senior member of the organization for advice/support/inspiration).

6. MENTOR: Being the senior member of a membership relation (passing on the benefit of your expertise, guiding and supporting a junior member of the organization).

7. ORGANIZATIONAL PLACEMENTS: Controlling or supporting the promotion of agreeable people into strategic positions or isolating/removing potential opponents.

8. PERSUASION: Seeking to win another party over to one's own point of view through selective use of rational argumentation.

9. COPING WITH UNCERTAINTY: Taking it upon oneself to eliminate or absorb another party's uncertainty (for example, building up extra inventory to prevent interruptions).

10. INTIMIDATION AND INNUENDOES: Using language, situations, or oblique allusions to make a counterpart timid or fearful of one's power.

11. CONTROL OF INFORMATION: Selective use of what information is distributed and who are the recipients of it.

12. RULE-ORIENTED TACTICS: Resorting to the selective use of formally documented organizational rules, guidelines, and procedures to support one's position or oppose another party ("Sorry, but the operating procedure says...").

13. USING SURROGATES: Having an intermediary secure compliance in others (for example, sending your assistant to enforce a new unpopular procedure at assistant plant).

14. IMAGE BUILDING: To promote self-interests through creating and maintaining a favorable image with the power holders (drawing attention to success, creating an impression of being on the inside of important events, developing a reputation of possessing the attributes considered desirable by the influential members of the organization).

15. RULE-EVADING TACTICS: Avoiding or reinterpreting formally documented organizational rules, guidelines, and procedures to support one's position or to oppose another party ("for you, I will make an exception to the procedure).

16. NETWORKING: Taking advantage of one's access to a network of organizational and/or occupational incumbents, specialists or power holders (special ties with professional, social, or family groups).

17. INGRATIATION: Praising, establishing a good rapport with or otherwise "buttering up the boss."

18. SUPER-ORDINATE GOAL: Attempting to generate support by linking one's argument to the greater good of the organization (our production target requires that...).

19. PROVIDING RESOURCES: Using discretional resources under one's control (money, services, people, etc.) by conditionally allocating them to others.

20. USE OF EXPERTISE: Providing particular skills, unique knowledge, or solutions to enhance one's position.

21. PIGGYBACKING: Establishing a mutually supportive relationship with an individual from an existing or incumbent power group and moving along with him or her (becoming the assistant to... following your boss into another division).

22. BLAMING OR ATTACKING OTHERS: Blaming other parties for one's failure or minimizing their accomplishments ("We would have made it through if the sales people had reacted faster...").

23. OUTSIDE EXPERTS: Involving external consultants or experts who may be expected to recommend a certain course of action supporting one's position.

24. COALITION BUILDING: A temporary or permanent alliance with other individuals or groups to increase the support of one's position or to achieve a particular objective.
Table 2
Factor Analysis of Frequency of Use of Political Tactics
Political Tactics Factor 1 Factor 2
Exchange of favors .454 .193
Co-optation .518 .216
Rituals and symbols .396 .164
Manipulation .652 .018
Mentoree .011 .353
Mentor .138 .440
Organizational placements .573 .229
Persuasion .133 .530
Coping with uncertainty .170 .310
Intimidation and innuendoes .747 -.038
Control of information .501 .198
Rule-oriented tactics .396 .136
Using surrogates .688 .040
Image building .169 .569
Rule-evading tactics .445 .145
Networking .139 .554
Ingratiation .440 .216
Super-ordinate goals .205 .629
Providing resources .424 .393
Use of expertise -.058 .685
Piggybacking .308 .298
Blaming or attacking others .676 .056
Outside experts .208 .347
Coalition building .119 .520
The underlined items were included as sanctioned political tactics
for Factor 1 and non-sanctioned political tactics for Factor 2.
Table 3
Factor Analysis of 13 Items of
Frequency of Use of Political Tactics
Political Tactics Factor 1 Factor 2
Use of expertise .698 -.046
Image building .646 .152
Super-ordinate goals .640 .162
Networking .572 .132
Persuasion .560 .139
Coalition building .488 .098
Intimidation and innuendoes .098 .782
Manipulation .042 .677
Blaming or attacking others .073 .676
Using surrogates .059 .629
Organizational placements .210 .566
Co-optation .196 .495
Control of information .215 .492
Table 4
Factor Analysis of 13 Items of Social Desirability of
Political Tactics
Political Tactics Factor 1 Factor 2
Use of expertise .646 -.075
Super-ordinate goals .574 .005
Networking .551 .005
Coalition building .504 -.015
Persuasion .473 .011
Image building .412 .149
Intimidation and innuendoes -.095 .626
Manipulation -.155 .544
Co-optation .094 .452
Control of information .161 .405
Using surrogates .021 .396
Organizational placements .215 .383
Blaming or attacking others -.201 .335
Table 5
Paired Samples T-Tests
Comparing People's Frequency of Use and
Social Desirability for 13 Items of
Political Tactics
 Mean Mean
Political Tactics
 Frequency of use Social Desirability
Use of expertise ** 3.64 4.30
Super-ordinate goals ** 3.24 3.75
Networking ** 3.28 3.89
Coalition building ** 3.04 3.61
Persuasion ** 3.33 3.92
Image building ** 3.14 3.48
Intimidation and innuendoes * 1.96 1.81
Manipulation ** 1.98 1.70
Co-optation ** 2.08 2.85
Control of information 2.73 2.73
Using surrogates ** 1.95 2.22
Organizational placements ** 2.49 3.02
Blaming or attacking others ** 2.00 1.61
(*)p = .05
(**)p = .10
COPYRIGHT 2001 Pittsburg State University - Department of Economics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:political behavior within organizations
Author:Zanzi, Alberto; O'Neill, Regina M.
Publication:Journal of Managerial Issues
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2001
Words:6642
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