I’ve been reading through a series of books and articles on organisational politics and came across this interesting self assessment that takes about five minutes and determines how “political” your organisation is. You have to love the results, a lovely piece of psychological assessment.

So grab a pen and start scoring.

For each question there are only three possible answers; disagree, maybe, or agree. For each disagree score 1, for each maybe score 3, for each agree score 5.

Questions:

1. who you know around here matters a lot more than what you know

2. the most competent people in the business don’t always get promoted

3. decisions are often taken outside formal meetings or behind closed doors

4. resource allocations between departments are a source of argument and conflict

5. you have to be prepared to socialize and build effective networks and alliances

6. information is jealously guarded and not shared openly between groups and departments

7. people suspect that there are ‘hidden agendas’ behind management decisions

8. some individuals always seem to be better informed than anyone else

9. individuals are having their reputations damaged by ‘whispers in the corridor’

10. those who take credit are not always those who made the biggest contribution

11. you have to know how to ‘play the rules’ – breaking and bending them – to get things done

12. when mistakes are made, people are quick to start putting the blame on others

13. most people recognize that you’re not going very far here unless you have the support of the key players

14. being open and honest all the time can seriously damage your career

15. people will criticize others’ ideas merely to help win support for their own proposals

Scoring:

You will have a score between 15 & 75 which can be interpreted as follows:

The politics-free zone: if you score around 25 or lower. We are all coming to work with you. Your organization has a relatively low level of political behaviour. Either that, or you are just not aware of the degree of politics going on behind your back? In such a politics-free zone, are you concerned that:

  • There is not enough discussion and debate before key decisions are taking?
  • There is not enough constructive conflict and debate to stimulate creativity?

The free-fire zone: if you scored around 65 or above. There is a high level of political behaviour in your organization. Either that, or you are reading too much into routine decisions and actions? In such a free-fire zone, are you concerned that:

  • Too much time and energy is going into the politics game, and not enough into strategic thinking and performance improvement?
  • The discussions and debates are motivated more by personal goals and are less related to the organization’s strategies and goals?

The averge behaviour zone: score between 30 and 60. Your organization is typical, middle-of-the-road in terms of the degree of political behaviour that you can expect to witness. In such an average behaviour zone, are you concerned that:

  • There is still too much political behaviour diverting attention away from the day job?
  • There is not enough political behaviour to stimulate the quality of discussion and debate around key issues and decisions?

Source:

Power, Politics, and Organizational Change – David A. Buchanan and Richard J. Badhman

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