Lifehack has a short, interesting essay on office politics, and on what conduct is both ethical and realistic in the modern workplace:
Too often [office politics] smack of dirty tricks and the use of personal influence in the interests of a few, powerful individuals, conjuring up a picture of secret deals in back rooms and pay-offs in favors given and expected. Ethically, most instances of office politics tend to be dubious.
Let’s assume that office politics are an unavoidable fact of organizational life. We can’t avoid encountering them. The ethical question then becomes how we act when we do.To make sense of this, you need to distinguish between three aspects of political actions:
- Making decisions where there are no rules or precedents to guide you.
- Handling the allocation of resources.
- Creating a “pecking order” of influence.