OFFICE POLITICS & Why Politics Increase in Dying Churches

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Henry Mintzberg wrote the classical research on office politics. And he points out that dying organizations have a higher degree of politics which causes them to die faster. He points out this is good for it ends and redistributes the assets of highly polarized organizations. This may be happening in many churches as well. According to Mintzberg, the highly political nature of dying congregations serves the purpose of helping them die quicker and then the resources, namely people, can be scattered more quickly into other organizations. Read this original article in the Journal of Management Studies for more interesting insights.”

THE ORGANIZATION AS POLITICAL ARENA – Henry Mintzberg – Journal of Management Studies – Wiley Online Library


Politics and conflict sometimes capture an organization in whole or significant part, giving rise to a form we call the Political Arena. After discussing briefly the system of politics in organizations, particularly as a set of ‘political games’, we derive through a series of propositions four basic types of Political Arenas: the complete Political Arena (characterized by conflict that is intensive and pervasive), the confrontation (conflict that is intensive but contained), the shaky alliance (conflict that is moderate and contained), and the politicized organization (conflict that is moderate but pervasive). the interrelationships among these four, as well as the context of each, are then described in terms of a process model of life cycles of Political Arenas. A final section of the paper considers the functional roles of politics in organizations.


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