Office Politics Don’t Have to Be Toxic

Office politics might seem unpleasant, but the ability to build relationships, access opportunities, and influence others is critical for anyone’s professional development. Unfortunately, research has shown that employees from underrepresented groups are often excluded from the informal mechanisms of office politics, hindering their ability to advance. In this piece, the authors describe how toxic organizational cultures can lead these employees to disengage from the political arena, ultimately harming their career prospects, while inclusive cultures can foster participation in healthy office politics. Based on both an analysis of in-depth interviews with ethnic minority employees in the UK and a broad array of prior research on politics, leadership, and inclusion, the authors offer five strategies to help organizations build healthy cultures, in which all employees are able to engage in and reap the benefits of office politics. Read More