Privilege-Seeking Activities in Organizational Politics and Its Effect on More Productive Employees

G. Epstein, BC. Herniter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to evaluate accurately an employee would seem to be a key activity in managing Information Technology (IT). Yet, workers may engage in dishonest and misleading behavior, which distort the evaluation, a variation of organizational politics. Why would they do so? One hypothesis is that “privilege-seeking”, that is, managing one’s managers (also called “rent-seeking”, “management relations”, or “organizational politics”), can be used by workers to misrepresent their actual contribution. These activities lead to a reduction in productivity and consequently to a loss of profits. Management may decrease the firm’s losses by engaging in costly monitoring activities. It is paradoxical that a behavior with such negative consequences is tolerated. A model is developed to show that an organization should be composed of employees with different levels of productivity; moreover, it may be optimal for the organization to have some employees who are good at privilege-seeking activities, forcing the remaining workers to invest in productive activities. This contradicts existing theory that unequal compensation should be less motivating and the remaining workers less productive.
Original languageAmerican English
Article number2
Pages (from-to)16-30
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of E-Politics (IJEP)
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012


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