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Pitfalls of Resource Management: How to Reduce the Negative Impact of Office Politics

admin November 20, 2023

“The resource manager has a nearly impossible job — with demands coming from every imaginable direction — yet a job that can have a profound impact on the organization’s success”, Neal Whitten

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In an ideal world, resource managers assign people to projects in accordance with their skills and availability, make their decisions in the most fair and reasonable way, the relationships between the team members are helpful and supporting, and the team works like a single organism to meet the common objective. But companies and teams consist of different people with their values, attitudes, and behaviors. So, the reality is that resource managers may stumble over multiple challenges on their way. One of them is office politics, which exists in most environments and often affects the decision-making process. 

How does office politics affect resource management, and how to handle these issues? Let’s take a closer look. 

What Is Office Politics and What Does It Lead to?

Office (workplace) politics can be defined as informal or unofficial activities performed by individuals who use influence and/or persuasion to affect the outcome of an event, decision, or strategic direction [1]. In relation to project management, these actions usually involve gaining control or authority in order to influence decisions that can affect direction, scope, resource allocation, etc. For example, those engaged in office politics can make efforts to establish relationships necessary to gain a powerful voice in the decision-making process. The survey form the accountemp shows that 80% of employees say office politics exists in their offices, and more than a half of the surveyed (55%) take part in it.  

Pitfalls of Resource Management: How to Reduce the Negative Impact of Office Politics

Unfortunately, workplace politics and its impact are often underestimated until it’s too late. What does office politics result in?

  • Office politics reduces employees’ productivity as they tend to concentrate on playing politics rather than work.
  • It affects relationships between employees, and mutual trust between them can be broken. 
  • Workplace politics increases conflicts between colleagues; as a result, the working environment becomes an unpleasant place. 
  • Employees become demotivated by unfair attitude. 
  • Office politics may benefit a couple of employees, while the whole project or even the whole company will lose.
  • Leaders may use their authority to influence the decision-making process for their own benefit.  

Pitfalls of Resource Management: How to Reduce the Negative Impact of Office Politics

Considering all these factors, it becomes nearly impossible to have a high-performing project team with individuals who are not only technically skilled but motivated to contribute to the project’s outcome.

Speaking about the impact of office politics on resource managers’ work, let’s bear in mind the background: multi-project environment and lack of resources. Due to office politics, resource managers may be exposed to pressure at the stage of resource allocation or assigning the tasks to the employees. For example, various team leaders may compete for an available employee if he or she is a perfect match for their tasks, and some of them may use their influence to force a resource manager to make decisions in their favor. The other example is the situation when senior management take particular interest in delivering a certain project and try to use their authority to influence the decisions made by a resource manager.   

Despite the fact that resource managers cannot prevent employees or groups from engaging in office politics, they can arm themselves with the right tools to resist this phenomenon.

Resource Management Tools That Give You the Upper Hand When It Comes to Office Politics 

One of the best ways to prevent the negative impact of workplace politics on your project is to use the potential of resource management software. With Epicflow, the multi-project resource management software, you can put real precise data against someone’s machinations, plan and allocate available resources in the most effective way. Let’s find out how Epicflow’s features can assist you in handling these issues.    


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