Considering political behavior in organizations

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Political behavior in organizations is examined using an operant perspective. Operant principles help explain why political behavior tends to occur in competitive environments in which there are unclear rules for the distribution of outcomes and resources and why the true motivations behind political activities tend to be hidden. In addition political tactics are thought to occur when individuals are reinforced directly for these behaviors, when the tactics result in desired changes to consequences for performance, and when they increase power. Reasons why power holders are susceptible targets of political influence are also considered. Keywords: Political behavior, operant principles, power holders, political influence.

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© 2003 American Psychological Association, Inc. Publisher’s version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0100024

Publication Title

The Behavior Analyst Today