Manipulation in Organisations

Manipulative politics in day-to-day life is highly detestable.  It is people with inferior intellects and undeveloped hearts that resort to such tactics.  The honest people who are committed to their job do not resort to manipulative politics.  The intelligent people who are capable of achieving their goals also do not usually resort to manipulative tactics. Yet certain environments may make politicians out of such people too.

Suppression of quality in order to promote people who are deemed useful for the manipulative strategies of the person in authority is the worst that can happen in any organisation.  In the process inferior individuals are invested with certain powers over the others.  The power is often misused for various purposes such as persecuting the genuine persons with the intention of making them toe the line or simply to make them do the work that others are supposed to do.  The power is also misused to accrue certain personal benefits. 

Cliques and gangs are natural phenomena during adolescence.  But as the adolescent matures into adulthood he outgrows cliques and gangs to become an individual with his own outlooks based on some kind of an ideology or at least a system of values and principles.  There are, however, many persons who do not achieve such maturity.  Such people continue to gather a group of associates around them.  When a person in authority does that it is highly detrimental to the organisation. 

Groupism in an organisation does not usually emerge from psychological immaturity, however.  It is consciously cultivated by the visionless leader who follows the strategy of ‘divide and rule.’  Such a leader nurtures rift among his staff because he finds it easy to deal with small groups.  A lot of manipulation becomes inevitable in such a situation since each group has to be appeased in different ways.  The organisation will suffer immensely in the process because too much time and energy will be expended on dealing with the inevitable discontents of the groups.

Even the very average people are endowed with fairly clear insights into the character of other people.  Almost everyone in the organisation knows what the other individual is, his strengths and weaknesses.  Yet qualities may often be overlooked and even belittled if there is a high degree of manipulation in the organisation.  Power becomes more important than qualities.  If you find individuals wielding certain degree of power being respected more than individuals with high degree of qualities you can be sure that manipulation is what runs the organisation.

The ultimate tragedy is that such organisations will sooner than later run aground.

There is only one possible tragedy worse than that: the blame will be transferred to the genuine persons.


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8 Responses to Manipulation in Organisations

  1. Purbaray says:

    It’s people who are insecure who indulge in manipulation. Why give them importance – they deserve to be ignored.

  2. dawnanddew says:

    “The intelligent people who are capable of achieving their goals also do not usually resort to manipulative tactics. Yet certain environments may make politicians out of such people too.” How could intelligent people indulge in such dirty politics, sir? Did you mean, in the process of countering the manipulative persons alone, the intelligent ones become politicians? If so, I think, still it is dirty. I feel muddled.:(

    • matheikal says:

      Dawn, there’s nothing to feel muddled here. When you are in Rome do what the Romans do – if the Romans play politics, you play politics; if the Romans play chess, you try to become at least the rook which won’t be sacrificed easily. Even the queens have been sacrificed easily in certain Romes that you know of! Think of the 2 queens who left recently the Rome you know. Think of the fate of the remaining queens if the Caesar is replaced. In such situations the best of minds are condemend to be muddled. But emerging out of the muddle… that’s your destiny.

      By the way, there’s a play in Malayalam which went on to become some kind of a classic in Kerala. It’s titled ‘You made me a Communist’ and written by Thoppil Bhasi, a winner of quite a few genuine awards (not like the awards of these days – which may be declared in meetings the minutes of which will be torn away soon if written at all or awards which are bought at a small price!) The play shows how the protagonist is forced to change himself by the socio-political situation. Society changes you, madam. Politics changes you radically sometimes!

  3. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    “There are, however, many persons who do not achieve such maturity.” – there is something left unsaid in this … the way to power is paved with immaturity. Immaturity is what drives “Networking”. Whatever may be the system, the man at the top cannot but be immature; if he just happens to be mature, he will be powerless even at the top.

    This is true of all organizations. This comes out of my observations and not out of any management theory, Matheikal.

    I have answered the question, “How did he get to be at that position?” by saying that “One needs to be like that to be at that position!”

    Raghuram Ekambaram

  4. Aditi says:

    Agree with the arguments in your blog, Matheikal. Going beyond any institution,and in the larger sense, it is this kind of behaviour (and people) which is ailing governance these days as well. The rot lies with the visionless insecure top and the visible symptom is appreciation of power as being more important than appreciation of qualities.

    • matheikal says:

      Aditi, when I wrote this post I had a very limited group of people in mind. But I guess you are right. The observations must be applicable to the wider group, the whole population, considering the fact that a group of people, after all, is a sample of the population.

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