Managing projects through people
Managing projects through people

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Managing projects through people

6 Political behaviour

6.1 Introduction

Buchanan and Badham (1999) suggest that political behaviour can be usefully evaluated against four criteria to help determine whether it is acceptable or whether it is not:

Four criteria to determine whether political behaviour is acceptable

  1. Is the behaviour ethically acceptable?

  2. Does the initiator of the behaviour have a reasonable warrant for carrying it out?

  3. Can a plausible account be constructed to justify the behaviour?

  4. Is the initiator’s reputation left intact?

In the case quoted in Example 1, the benefits of the change project for the organisation as a whole seem to suggest that, on balance, the consultants’ behaviour might be justified. It can certainly be argued that they had a reasonable warrant for behaving in this way, given the overwhelming necessity to bring about change, that a plausible account could be constructed to justify their behaviour in that it was necessary for the project to succeed, and that their reputation probably remained intact, given their close relationship with the chief executive. Whether you find their behaviour ethically acceptable is a matter of personal preference! Whatever your opinion is about this, it is difficult to imagine that a project of this kind could be managed successfully without some recourse to political behaviour.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus