Organizational politics is the process of using an informal network to gain power and accomplish tasks to meet a person's wants or needs. Organizational politics may be a positive practice when the greater good of the company is affected. However, it can also be negative when people promote self-interests.
Organizational politics and the process of gathering a network to create change can be secretive and self-promoting when it is used in a negative manner. These political actions may taint the cooperation by impacting information sharing, social groupings or the cohesiveness of a team and the effectiveness of organizational policies and procedures.
When used in a positive manner, organizational politics is not as manipulative or viewed as secretive. For example, when a boss is stressed and not in the best frame of mind to make a major corporate decision, an employee may choose to wait until the boss is in a better mood before presenting him with information on an important company matter. This helps to ensure the best possible decision is made.
Using organizational politics to a person's advantage in a positive manner may include volunteering for high-profile tasks, expressing praise to senior executives and superiors for their accomplishments and self-promoting successful accomplishments in a company newsletter.