Re: Handling Power and Politics LO2273

Stephen Wehrenberg (
Fri, 28 Jul 1995 08:40:05 +0000

Replying to LO2193 --

I detect a semantic argument. What if we define "politics" as any action
designed to gain or maintain power? What if we further assume power to
be the ability to influence? Then we can suggest that power is amoral,
and may be used for good just as it may be used for evil (assuming that
we think "manipulation" is evil, which I will contest another day). It
then follows that political acts may also be amoral--for good or evil.

Much of my workday is spent in exchanges of power. Power is the lingua
franca of organizational life. I engage in political behavior
frequently. Who says political behavior has to be solely for personal
gain? Can't I use power and politics for the good of the organization
and those within it? That's the way I teach it, anyway ... and the way I
do it. I am respected, successful, and well liked by those around me ...
so they must not realize they are being manipulated, right? Not! We are
all manipulated from moment to moment ... only some of us INTEND.

Stephen Wehrenberg, Ph.D.
"Life is a jam session."

> > From: (Ketan Lakhani) > Date: Sun, 23 Jul 95 12:35 EET > Subject: Re: Handling Power & Politics LO2193 > > Replying to LO1969 -- > > >> Date: Fri, 30 Jun 95 11:51 EET > >> From: (Ketan Lakhani) > >> > >> It also sounds naive . . > > > > I wish I was naive! Life would so much easier, because I would > >probably not be so worried about so many things... well... sigh... > > > >> . . politics and power are a part of being human - > >> and even if we rely on intellectual capacity it will still be there - you > >> are presuming that power and politics are not "intelligent" or > >> "brainpower" conditions of the human experience. We'll just get better and > >> sharper at it. > > > > Something I cannot accept is that politics and power, or at least > >some expressions of it, are a part of being human! I don't accept > >political games and manipulations, and I am very much at peace with myself > >because of that. If accept manipuilations as "part of being human" then I > >would have to compromise way too many times. Even in my personal life, I > >have problems handling this and that might explain why I have divorced a > >couple times. I believe that being human does not include manipulating > >other people, or exploiting people for your own benefit. We must have > >some different from other living things on this planet. > > > > Being human too me means integrity, understanding, give and take > >(not in an exploitative way), humanness, etc.. > > Whoa! Just because you can't accept it, it doesn't mean its not there. And > power and its uses - and these are vital for simple survival -are NOT > incompatible with integrity, understanding et al. > > May I suggest that your resistance is two-fold: > 1. From associating politics and power with politicians who are not any of > the above - ie integrity etc. > 2. From being a victim of manipulation. > > The reality we all manipulate - from trying to get better service in a > restaurant to "growing" children to the values of integrity etc. We > constantly try to configure the world according to our world-view. > > The trick is to do it with integrity etc. > > Ketan > - -- > KETAN L. LAKHANI Voice: +27 31 3011229

Stephen B. Wehrenberg, Ph.D. Manpower Planner, US Coast Guard The George Washington University, (202)267-0624 "Life is a jam session."