Read the Political Behavior case and respond to the following questions:
- To what extent are power and politics already at play in this situation?
- How might one of the actors in the incident use power and politics to achieve advantage in the situation described?250 WORDS
Political Behavior Analysis
Incident 1: New Product Development
Two research scientists are competing for an internal new product development award worth $300,000 and a nice résumé boost. Scientist A is technically the stronger of the two. She is also relatively quiet, reserved, and modest in her dealings with co-workers and higher management. Scientist B is technically good and is considered a good candidate for a management position sometime in the future. He is outgoing, networks widely, and is a real self-promoter. After the proposals were submitted, Scientist A went back to work to await final word on the winner. Scientist B began an aggressive campaign to win the award by making sure that those in charge of the decision and others knew why his proposal should be considered the best one.
Incident 2: Career Advancement
A young woman has been with the financial services firm for two years. She is happy with the work, pleased with her responsibilities, and looking forward to career advancement within the firm. During a casual conversation over coffee she has just learned that a male colleague with less time at the firm has gone to higher management and negotiated a special off-cycle pay raise. The colleague is now earning more, in fact quite a bit more, than she is. The firm's CEO has made many public statements supporting career advancement for women. The culture is one in which no one is supposed to talk about their pay with others inside or outside the firm. The young woman wants more pay and is now unhappy in a situation that she had previously found very satisfying.
Incident 3: Headphones On in the Office
Saul, aged twenty-five, has just started a new job where everyone works in an open-plan office. He's been there about three weeks and is content. A music lover, he has been wearing headphones during the day while working on the computer. Yesterday a colleague who Saul guesses to be about forty to forty-five years old, offered him some “advice.” “You should take off the headphones in the office,” she said, “that's not the way we do things here. People are starting to say that you aren't friendly and tend to be a loner.” This caught Saul by surprise since he has the headphones on most of his free time as well, and he thinks the music helps him stay relaxed and focused while doing detailed computer work. Nobody said anything about such things when he interviewed, and he can't find any company policy or rule that forbids wearing headphones at work. He likes the job, even likes the people, but he doesn't like being told to take the headphones off.
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