Perceptions of organisational politics and its impact on managerial practices at the National electricity provider in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
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Politics in an organisation is an inevitable element in organisation management. The Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s national electricity providers have been subject to an increasingly intense organisational politics cancer for almost two decades, and it is commonly believed to be behind the current electricity generation crisis that has become synonymous within the SADC region. The electricity challenges have spread to most countries in Africa, making the challenge applicable to Africa as a continent. Even on a global scale, electricity crises are increasingly becoming a matter of concern. Economies the world over are known to be heavily reliant on electricity as an energy source. Most if not all economies would be dysfunctional and non-existent without adequate electricity. This study focuses on organisational politics and its impact on managerial practices at a national electricity provider in a SADC region, in particular, Zimbabwe’s national electricity provider and specifically aims to provide a conceptual framework for better cognition and minimisation of negative political behaviour, ultimately enhancing electricity generation capacity for the country. The study is presented in article format covering four areas of study as follows: * Article one identifies the main role-players and their functions in the generation of electrical power at the national electricity providers. The identification of the role-players is literature based and discusses the influences of the role-players in the equation of electricity generation for the economy. A biographical profile of the national electricity provider is compiled by means of an empirical study. * The second article explores and interrogates employees’ perceptions of organisational politics by employing both theoretical and empirical study focusing on the causes/sources of political behaviour at the national electricity provider. * The third article investigates the effects of organisational politics at the national electricity provider focusing on the positive and negative effects. The article also employs both a literature and an empirical study. * The final article provides solutions to the negative effects of organisational politics. It investigates the managerial practices for minimising negative political behaviour through a review of literature as well as undertaking an empirical study. A sample of 1400 participants was randomly selected from the population of 2210 employees, representing 63.35% of the population. A total of 358 completed questionnaires were returned by the cut-off date. Of the 358, 11 were discarded as they were incorrectly completed, giving an effective response rate of 24.78%. The study employed the statistical software programme SPSS 21.0 for Windows to analyse the data. Various quantitative statistical techniques that suit the doctoral level of research were used to analyse the data. The techniques include: * Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy; * Exploratory factor analysis * Bartlett’s test of sphericity; and * Cronbach Alpha’s reliability coefficient. The major findings of the study were: * The first article identified the main role-players within the national electricity provider’s political environment as: employees, managers; government; and board of directors. Central to the political environment, are diverse goals from each role-player which in most cases is incongruent, giving birth to the political tempo (organisational politics) within the organisation. * The second article identified four significant factors perceived as contributing to political behaviour at the national electricity provider. The factors are managerial behaviour, poor communication of objectives, unexpected employee behaviour and unhealthy managerial practices. These factors account for a favourable variance of 74.26. * The third article identified three factors of significance that explain the effects of political behaviour at the national electricity provider. These factors account for a favourable variance of 74.67%, and the factors include positive departmental actions, negative employee actions and personal consequences. * The final article sought to provide measures for minimising negative effects of political behaviour, thus the article identified two factors of importance in minimising negative political behaviour at the national electricity provider. These factors are managerial fairness and managerial participation accounting for 70.11% of the total variance. Organisational politics, by and large, impedes organisational performance and in the case of the national electricity provider, it retards the power utility’s capacity to generate the much needed electrical power. Thus an integrated organisational strategy is required to successfully harness negative political behaviour into some significant positive factors that can create a conducive work environment that enhances performance ultimately increasing productivity levels. While the findings of the study holds true of the fact that some political behaviour factors have a hand in the national electricity provider’s inability to generate adequate electrical power, further research is needed to substantiate these factors in other regions of the national electricity provider within Zimbabwe as well as in SADC countries. A SADC approach encompassing all the member countries can help reduce negative political behaviour in key organisations such as the national electricity providers and other parastatals. The study concludes by proposing a comprehensive conceptual organisational politics management model (OPMM) which can be used by managers at the national electricity providers to reduce negative political behaviour.