current approach is like 'throwing lambs to the slaughter.'
Is there anything we can do to help prepare our students for
the political aspects of organizational life?"
-- College Professor.
The taboo against officially discussing the
existence of organizational politics in corporations is somewhat
understandable. Executives find it awkard in a capitalistic
system that is supposed to be run by a rational meritocracy
to admit that politics actually exists and plays a significant
However, it seems a shame that the educational
systems that are supposed to be preparing people to be successful
in the work world don't even raise this issue.
In university settings, one is not bound by
business cultures and expectations of pure rationalism. Universities
are the place where organizational politics can be legitmized
as a part of business life. Open discussions can then occur
as to what politics actually is all about and what students
can do to prepare themselves.
There are many ways to help undergraduates
with little business experience to get a taste of what they
will be dealing with when they join a business. The tools
in the MBA section are examples.
Often, great technical people are not able
to create the informal networks essential to get their units
work the attention it deserves. Too many fall off the fast
track for their inability to learn the informal rules of the
road neccessary to be maximally effective.
Those who learn to use the Political Savvy
Advantage avoid this premature stalling of their careers and
continue on to make greater and greater contributions.
of our students have several years in business. How can we
leverage their experience to prepare them to be more effective."
-- Program Director
MBA students and those who teach them know
about the pervasive existence of politics in any organization.
Unfortunately, few MBA programs even in their
leadership courses ever tackle the issue of organizational politics
straight on. The result is a continuation of the silent taboo
of not talking about power and how politics is a thread that
runs through most processes in the organization.
We strongly recommend that the topic of organizational
politics be legitimized in MBA curriculums. Too often it is
left out of finance and and marketing oriented programs. When
this ommission occurs, it leaves the student with an incomplete
picture. It only serves to help seal in the denial of political
Our research indicates that less than 5% of
MBA programs legitimize and discuss the ramifications of organizational
politics as a part of their graduate program.
As a professor at an MBA program for a time,
I found that about a third of the people who left work and
came to the program, left because of run ins with organizational
The Political Savvy Advantage contains a book
based upon decades of research designed to help practicing
managers. This research has also been crafted into a case
intervention that has been used by over half of the top ten
ranked MBA programs. Faculty members are encouraged to ask
for the Political Savvy exercise, or some equivalent way to
legitimize political discussion, for use in their classrooms.
Contact us for the details.
an individual what can I do to get ready for what organizational life is really all
about?" -- Student
It is unlikely that your university will have
you deal directly with the topic of organizational politics.
Yet talk to a parent or anyone who has spent years in the
working world and ask how big a part organizational politics
is in determining what happens in the organization over one's
One of the most frequent comments we receive
is 'How come no one taught us about this stuff in school?"
Don't wait until you get blindsided or get
passed by. Read the growing list of books on the topic. Political
Savvy: Systematic Approaches to Leadership Behind the Scences
was written with you in mind. Once you understand the power
of 'positive politics,' your odds for a successful career