Organizations are intrinsically political systems, “in the sense that ways must be found to create order and direction among people with potentially diverse and conflicting interests.”
“All organizational activity is interest-based…an organization is simultaneously a system of competition and a system of collaboration.” “Because of the diversity of interests… [the organization] always has a latent tendency to move in diverse directions, and sometimes to fall apart.”
Organizational politics is founded in Aristotle’s idea “that diversity of interests gives rise to the ‘wheeling and dealing’, negotiation, and other processes of coalition building and mutual influence that shape so much of organizational life.”
“Organizational politics arise when people think differently and want to act differently. This diversity creates a tension that must be resolved through political means…there are many ways in which this can be done: aristocratically (‘We’ll do it this way’); bureaucratically (‘We’re supposed to do it this way”), technocratically (‘It’s best to do it this way’), or democratically (‘How shall we do it?’). In each case the choice between alternative paths of action usually hinges on the power relations between the actors involved.”
“Power is the medium through which conflicts of interest are ultimately resolved. Power influences who gets what, when, and how.” Organizational power is derived from formal authority, control of scarce resources, control of information, use of structure, policies, and rules, and so on.
(Adapted from Images of Organization by Gareth Morgan)
Recognizing the importance of organizational politics—individual, group, and special interests, as well as the resulting conflict, and resolution through the levers of power is critical in User-centric Enterprise Architecture.
EA works within a diverse organization, takes competing interests and organizational conflicts, and turns it into common objectives and goals and the striving towards their achievement.
Enterprise architects work across organizational boundaries to synthesize business and technology to create interoperability, standardization, efficiencies, enterprise and common solutions, and integration.
Through the target architecture and transition plan, EA seeks to transform the organization from its intrinsic conflicts into a force with unity of purpose and mind to achieve ever greater accomplishments.