Organizational Politics and how to Manage them.

Organizational Politics

Politics are part and parcel of the organization and are difficult to avoid since every institution are made of different parties with diverse interests. These individual parties comprise shareholders, whose principal interests are low financial margins and high-profit margins. The diverse organizational interests are always aligned essentially for the organization’s success which ultimately results in the rise of politics. The paper aims to examine the sources of the intense political behaviour at HP, the categories of political behaviours exhibited by the top management of HP and their behavioural ethics.

Many individual and organizational factors lead to intense political behaviour within most organizations. Some of the individual factors comprise organizational investment, high self-monitors, success expectations, and internal locus of control, among others. Organizational factors are resource relocation, low trust, self-serving senior managers and role ambiguity among others (Robbins, 1997). Some of these factors were experienced at HP. Individual factors such as internal locus of control were experienced at HP on several senior-level management. HP’s chairman Ray Lane was one of the major forces that caused intense political behaviours in HP through his advantage of internal locus of control. Through his chairmanship position, he controlled and manipulated situations in the organization in his favour. Because of his power, he reorganized the board of directors and laid off some top managers who acted as spies in the organization (Pearlstein, 2011). Reorganization of the board and staff and sacking some of the leaders at HP led to intense politicking among stakeholders of the organization. The second factor that led to intense politics at HP is high self-monitors (Robbins, 1997). This was experienced among members of the board of directors who had personal rivalries. These individuals did self-monitory within the organization with the help of some internal managers. This contributed to intense political behaviour in the organization, thus leading to leaking of the organization’s secret information to the media and constant bickering among themselves. The high self-monitory among the board of directors led to intense politics resulting to claims that Mark Hurd the CEO of the company was involved in improprieties including financial and sexual harassment of Fisher (Pearlstein, 2011). Intense politicking arose around the claim until Hurds ouster. Organizational investment is another factor that contributed to intense politicking in the company. Due to his vast family investment in the organization, Walter Hewlett, son of the founder of the company and a board member, contributed to intense politicking in the company. The gist of the politics was the move by the CEO Carly Fiorina to merge HP with Compaq which Hewlett opposed strongly.

The organizational factors that led to intense political behaviour in HP include low trust (Robbins, 1997). Due to the reduced trust that some of the company employees and board members had on Hurd after claims of impropriety and sexual harassment, intense politicking rose in the company. The faction of the board members and employees who claimed that mark was innocent of propriety claims opposed the pro propriety faction. This led to his Hurd’s ejection from the company in the long run. The low trust also made the board of directors to remove Fiorina from the CEO position because they had lost trust in her management skillset. Self-serving senior manager’s factor is also one of the organizational factors that led to intense political behavior at HP. This was seen in the appointment of Apotheker by Jim Citrin as the CEO of HP. Four qualified internal aspirants of the organization stepped forward for the post with Todd Bradley being the strongest. However, due to the organizational factor of self-serving senior manager’s influence Citrin and his colleagues appointed Apotheker the CEO without any interview. He also appointed Ray Lane as the chairman to assist Apotheker an action that most directors remained skeptical about.


The types of political behaviours exhibited by HP CEO’s and board members include blaming others (Luthans et al. 2015). At times some HP board of directors refused to sit in the same room because they accused one another of betrayal, leaking of sensitive information regarding the organization and lying. Most of the times, they disagreed on the choice of CEO- one of their most vital task. Most of the board of directors blamed HP chairman Ray Lane for hiring people who had no experience in the company’s most significant lines of business, leading to great financial loses to the company. Lane was also blamed of the half-baked decisions such as ending the production of the multi-dollar HP tablet that loss of millions of cash and reduction of investor’s shares (Veverka, 2011). The board of directors blamed him because he was the one who made HP’s strategic decisions by then.

On the other hand, Lane blamed Apotheker for the wrong decision he made to scrap off the production of HP tablet from the company. Selective distributing of information was another political behaviour used by HP’s board of directors and CEO’s (Luthans et al. 2015). Some directors practised selective distribution of information by leaking the company’s information to the press. For instance, Bradley, one of the CEO’s, was known by his infighting spirit of selectively distributing information to his confidants and the press. That is the reason why some top managers campaigned against him from being selected as the top CEO of the company. Some section of the board of directors formed coalitions as their political behaviours to oust CEOs. For example, a faction of the board of directors formed a coalition which yielded intense political behaviour leading to ousting and resignation of Fiorina, Hurd and Apotheker as the CEOs of HP.

The leaks to the press by members of the board were unethical because they violated the rights of the CEO Carly Fiorina. The leaks made by the board claiming that Fiorina lacked the skillset to move the company forward was unethical. This is because Fiorina’s quest to merge HP with Compaq and firing of the three executives was for the good of the company (Harwell & Paquette, 2015) Merging Compaq with HP was to increase the functionality of HP computer and was to bring additional income to the company (Robbins, 1997). Firing the three executives she felt could have contributed to the drastic drop of the company earnings was also unethical because they had lapses in their departments which was not good for the progress of the company. Therefore, all the actions she took were for the good of the company and never warranted the information board members leaked to the press. The investigations carried out by Patricia Dunn into the links were also unethical because she contracted private investigators who used ‘pretexting” to get mobile phone records of board members. The private investigators traced the phone records of the HP board members against the law. Because they investigated the records of the board members before explaining to them the reason why their phone records were being investigated. The investigation also infringed on the board members’ rights to private information (Robbins, 1997). In conclusion, it was unethical for Patricia Dunn to investigate the links to extract private information from board members phone records without their information.

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