How Leadership, Power and Politics Affect an Organization’s Performance


An organization’s performance is what every entity strives to achieve since this is the core and foundation of success in today’s business world. All the elements that constitute the organization must be linked together in such a way that the activities of the organization are well organized to ensure the final goals of the organization are achieved (Shepard, 2007). The continuity of any organization into the future is measured by the success of the organization in executing its goals and this is then gauged against the overall performance of the organization.

Organizational performance can be influenced by various factors within the organization. How the organization deals with the challenges that threaten its performance determines if it’s going to be able to meet its goals and objectives or not. Some of the most important factors that influence the performance of organizations today are the type of leadership that exists in the organization and the distribution of power. Other factors that influence organization performance are external such as politics in the economy.

Such influences will often result in some kinds of conflict within the organization. This paper analyses how the three factors; leadership, power, and politics affect the performance of organizations. It also discusses the most common types of conflict that may threaten the performance of an organization and this includes the task, relationship, and process conflict.


Leadership is one of the key factors that will affect the performance of an organization. The leaders of an organization bear the responsibility of giving directions on how things should be done within the organization. The managers and the directors of any organization are supposed to ensure that all processes and procedures that the organization deals with are run smoothly to ensure that the organization meets its goals and objectives (Stephen, 2007).

Managers for example have the responsibility of ensuring that the organization has very competent and intelligent staff that will effectively execute the duties that are assigned to them. They are also supposed to inspect and oversee the overall running of the organization. If the leaders within the organization are not dedicated to their roles, many of the activities within the organization will not run smoothly. Employees within an organization usually look upon the leaders and if the leaders are not dedicated and committed to their duties, it is unlikely that the employees will do the same (Kevin, 2008). This affects the overall performance of the organization since most duties will either not be done or are not done to the best of the employee’s abilities.


Power is a very sensitive part of the organization. How power is bestowed on individuals in the organization gives a clear guide of the flow of activities within the organization. It determines who is supposed to obey who and who makes what decisions. This defines the command chain within the organization. If an organization does not have a clear definition of power, the conflict will likely arise since the code of respect between individuals will not be addressed.

How power is exercised within the organization also affects the performance of the organization (James, 2006). Very harsh commands will often lead to rejection and rebel thus relationship between leaders and their juniors will not be stable. Power should be executed concerning the employees under any category and this enhances open communication within the organization. This eventually ensures respect for decisions made and thus the overall performance of the organization is guaranteed.


The political world today has major influences on the performance of the organization. The state of politics within any economic environment will influence various factors that will affect the performance of the organization (James, 2006). The political environment for example will affect factors such as interest rates and inflation among other economic factors. The stability of the political environment is also very crucial.

Without stable politics, the security of the economic and business field will be affected. Investors cannot be able to gain their full gains if the country is faced with constant crashes, wars, and violence. This affects the demand for goods produced by the companies and also the security of the organization’s investment. Key policies within a country are driven by the political environment. If the policies favor the business environment, then the performance of the organization can be improved. This includes key policies such as taxation, registration requirements, and infrastructure among others.

Conflict within the organization

Organizations today are comprised of individuals from different backgrounds. Most of the organizations today are multicultural. This means the whole community will comprise individuals who have different kinds of lifestyles, thoughts, reasoning among other factors. Conflict is therefore inevitable within the organization (Stephen, 2007). One of the most common types of conflict within the organization is relationship conflict.

If the individuals who are in the organization do not respect each other’s background and personality, it is difficult to maintain good relationships within the organization. How the managers or the leaders within the organization deal with matters related to relationship conflict will affect the performance of the organization (Ralph, 2003). Another type of conflict that arises within the organization is the task conflict. Within the organizations most tasks or jobs today are done in form of teams. Without teamwork, most tasks will not be successful. The benefit of teamwork is that it brings different ideas and knowledge together and this gives rise to better results.

However, if such teams are not well trained, the conflict will always arise. Some employees may feel that the jobs assigned to them are too low or too high in respect to their level of education, power, or position held among other job and personal factors.

In other cases, other individuals may feel that their opinions in performing a task are important than others and they may want to insist on their way. Others may feel that their points of view are disregarded or ignored. This causes a lot of conflict within the organization. Another type of conflict is the process conflict. This involves the smooth running of activities within the organization. Such conflict normally arises as a result of a lack of good communication between different departments. How the leaders address such conflict affects whether the job involved will be successful or not.


In conclusion, the leadership of any organization directly affects the activities of the organization. How well the leaders can enhance the activities of the organization determines the performance of the organization (Burton, 2003).

They have the responsibility of making key decisions and thus all the other employees within the organization will look up to them. How well the leaders manage conflict within the organization determines the kind of relationships that will exist in the organization and this affects the way people communicate and perform duties within the organization. Leaders should always be willing to address the conflicts of interest whether it is relationship conflict, task conflict, or process conflict.

This ensures good communication among the employees and thus effective teamwork in performing their duties. How power is executed and divided within the organization will define the chain of command and respect within the organization structure (Stephen, 2007). The stability of the political environment is very important for the success of any organization. Politics affects the economic environment and thus the performance of the organization.


Burton, R.M and Obel H. B, 2003. Strategic challenges to organizational performance. Springer publication.

James P. Eicher, 2006. Impact of power and politics in an organization. Prentice hall Publishers.

Kevin Cashman, 2008. Leadership challenge and organizational performance. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Ralph H. Hasson, 2003. Organization conflict. Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Shepard K, Gray and Hunt, J. G, 2007. Organization Design, Levels of Work and effective performance. Sage publications.

Stephen P. Robbins and Tim A. Judge, 2007. Organizational Behavior. Prentice Hall publishers.

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