Politics in Business: What role does politics play in business?
There shouldn’t be any politics in business. But that is utopian. It is also wise not to mingle politics with business. But that conventional wisdom has often been debunked. Innumerable companies and individuals have reaped generous returns by being politically connected. Many have had windfall gains by the virtue of politics in business. Whether it is a simple promotion within a company or acquiring large contracts, politics and business are often inseparable.
Modern day thinkers like to call it lobbying when it is actually politicking, outright bribing, quid pro quo or pure politicization. The role politics plays in business is multifaceted. Fierce competition among peers makes them political and those whose career progression is at stake will try to bring the others down. Companies often use their political clout to gain leverage over their competitors. From hiring to preferential treatments in a workplace, politics is everywhere.
Just like many people like to be called spiritual instead of religious, many prefer to be regarded as apolitical but most people are, in reality, deeply political. Some don’t air their opinions or don’t indulge in politics explicitly, but consciously or unconsciously a massive majority of people in the country do engage in politics, and that is mostly negative. Constructive politics is rare, even in the senate or congress.
Politics in business becomes most unabashed when someone is running for office. Whoever is running for office will have some competitors. There are conflicts of interest, self interests or aspirations, personal preferences of those who have a say and there’s enmity or to put it mildly, dislikes. There are always scores to be settled, there is always an urge to bring others or someone in particular down and lobbying also plays a part.
When politics is in the form of winning favors or votes, it is deemed competitive and isn’t really seen as something extremely negative or adverse. But when politics becomes a borderline case of racism or any kind of inequality, it is then that the practice becomes unacceptable.
Politics in business has cost people jobs, growth and have on the contrary helped people get appraised and scale new heights in their careers. Politics isn’t just relevant when someone is running for office; it is evident at all times, from getting desirable assignments to being treated with kid-gloves by the immediate manager or management. Politics is deeply etched in every facet of any type of business and thus any workplace, the only difference is in its degree and consequentiality.