Decision making is an integral element of organizational processes, and plays an important role in facilitating the effective execution business functions within an organization. A recent trend in the organizational structure is the continued reliance on the use of Information Technology in the effective undertaking of the organizational activities. The adoption of change by use of Information technology is inevitable for any organization in the current business context. The underlying argument is that the adoption of IT as an aspect of organizational change is a critical success factor that any organization should not overlook irrespective of the drawbacks and politics associated with its implementation (Finney, 2003). This implies that IT infrastructures play a significant role in influencing the decision making processes within an organization. In addition, organizational politics usually have an impact regarding the ways in which the IT decision making processes are conducted. The drawback is that the deployment of IT infrastructures within an organization can serve as the onset of organizational politics due to the fact that it organizational politics usually have an impact on the development of appropriate IT projects (Gronau & Rohloff, 2008). This paper attempts to highlight the various ways in which organizational politic shape IT decision making, and the various strategies that IT decision makers can use to address the problems associated with organizational politics in IT.
The relationship between organizational politics in management and the deployment of IT infrastructure within an organization can be perceived to be somewhat interrelated in the sense that the effectiveness of the implementation of one element depends on the other. It is therefore imperative for management team of an organization to deploy appropriate strategies to help in the integration of IT politics and planned organizational change. In order have an in depth understanding of how organizations function; it is vital to view them as political systems, which helps in the understanding of power relationships within the organization. This sums up to the fact that politics are an essential element of the organization and affects the various dynamics of organizational decision making, especially IT decision making (Gronau & Rohloff, 2008). The most significant reason why people engage in organizational politics is to pursue personal interests at the expense of organizational goals and objectives. In most cases, organizational politics is characterized by cases of struggle for power and resources, organizational conflicts, centralized control of organizational information and resistance towards the implementation of appropriate change strategies within the organization (Brier et al, 2006).
The deployment of IT infrastructures within an organization usually serves as the source for the onset organizational conflicts because the newly adopted IT system has an effect on the way organizational activities are done. In addition, Information systems are bound to change the status quo within an organization, which in turn results to power realignments at the organizational level. As it is analogous to any political unit, those who the adoption of the new system favors are bound to support the change, while those who the current system will not favor will resist the change. The impact of this is a shift from the goals of the organization to personal interests. The relationship between the IS systems and organizational systems depend on the size of the adopted system, in the sense that the bigger the IT infrastructure to be implemented, the bigger its impacts are to the organization because it will affect a large scope of the organizational operations (Lapointe & Rivard, 2006). The significant effect of organizational politics in IT decision making is that an individual in power may use their authority to influence the way in the decisions are made in order to suite their personal interests at hand. Since organizational politics should not be avoided, it is important for IS decision makers to participate in the politics in order to leverage the negative impacts that it may have on the success of the deployment of the new IT infrastructure to the organization (Gronau & Rohloff, 2008). For instance, an effective way of realizing this is through carrying out an organizational impact analysis of the new system in order to ascertain the various ways in which the decision to be made will have on the business design, the economic viability of the IT decision and the effect it will have on the working conditions of the organizational members. In addition, a political management plan is a key strategy that an effective IT decision maker should use in order to evaluate the various needs of the stakeholders and their influence on the success of the implementation of the new IT system at the organization (Finney, 2003). A political management plan also plays an integral role in the consolidation of the various personal conflicts and interests within an organization as a result of organizational politics.
Strategies that IT decision makers can deploy to leverage the impact of organizational politics
It is a fact that the success of Information System projects is hindered by organizational politics. Therefore, an effective IT decision maker has to deploy the use of good political tactics in cases whereby organizational conflicts cannot be avoided (Gronau & Rohloff, 2008). The decision maker should tailor his political tactics in order to facilitate the realization and implementation of the decision. Therefore, the decision makers should acknowledge the need and the role that organizational politics play in the context of the organization, and use his political tactics to gain and receive favors from the organizational members. In addition, good political tactics can be used to bargain and negotiate the resources that are required for effective completion of the project (Finney, 2003). Most importantly, the IT decision maker must use his political tactics to convince the organizational members of the benefits and drawbacks associated with the implementation of the IT decision (Lapointe & Rivard, 2006).
Another important strategy that can be used by IT decision makers is to appreciate and recognize the individual interests, after which the IT decision maker aligns their interests with goals and objectives of the decision to be implemented. It is important to understand that organizational politics is based on the perceptions that organizational members will only show commitment to a decision basing on the benefits that the project will bring to them at the individual level. Therefore, the IT decision maker must take into account the wants of the various members within the organization and align them with the goals of the project to be implemented (Finney, 2003).
Having an insight into the root causes of organizational politics and conflicts facilitates the process developing appropriate responses by the IT decision maker. This implies that IT decision makers must have the ability to deploy the use of conflict resolution process, in the sense that they must be involved in the politics of the organization and devise strategic measures to aid in the solution of such conflicts that may hinder the successful implementation of the decision (Finney, 2003).
It is imperative for IT decision makers to understand the elements that constitute the relationship between organizational politics and IT decision making. A minimal participation in the organizational politics using appropriate tactics can help in the effective IT decision making before the impacts of organizational politics get out of hand. Therefore, the IT decision maker should liaise with the respective stakeholders in order to eliminate the conflict points within the organization. This essay has backed the use active participation in healthy organizational politics, which are constructive, and at the same time, the IT decision makers have the responsibility of detecting destructive organizational conflicts. This helps in the leverage of the impacts of the organization politics in the effective implementation of IT decisions.
Brier, J., Rapanotti, L., & Hall, J. (2006). Problem-based analysis of organisational change: a real-world example. Proceedings of the 2006 international workshop on Advances and applications of problem frames, International Conference on Software Engineering, (pp. 13-19). Shanghai, China.
Finney, R. (2003). The Politics of Information and Projects. ITMWEB White Paper. Web.
Gronau, N., & Rohloff, M. (2008). Information Systems Implementation: The Big Picture. Proceedings of the 2008 ACM symposium on Applied computing, Symposium on Applied Computing, (pp. 1077-1078). Ceara, Brazil.
Lapointe, L., & Rivard, S. (2006). Getting physicians to accept new information technology: insights from case studies. CMAJ , 174 (11).