Factors that contribute to political behavior in organisations may be both individual and organisational in nature. Individual factors include: an inability to progress through the hierarchy via normal methods of advancement, personal investment into the organization and higher likelihood of success through illegitimate influences (Langdon and Marshal 1998, p. 122; Robbins et al 2004, p.405-7). According to Langdon and Marshal, it has often been said that ‘employees resort to political behaviour when they feel that their career will not move ahead through competence, hard work or sheer luck’ (1998, p.121). In this respect, individuals attempt to influence other people in order to gain power and motivate their own advancement. Some people may have investments in the organisation or another organisation that directly relates to their employment, therefore rely on politics to influence and exert their power to directly gain from the organisations advancement. Lastly, people may find it physically easier to manipulate their influence over the organisation in order to advance more rapidly than a legitimate method.
Organisational factors include: when the organisation’s resources are limited, when the pattern or resources have changed or are changing, and when there is an opportunity for promotions (Robbins et al 2004, p.407). When an organisation’s resources are limited someone is going to go short, and everyone believes that they shouldn’t have to. Common resources include: departmental budgets, salaries, space allocations, responsibilities, human resources, and equipment. When there is a shortage many believe that ‘the facts that are used to allocate resources are open to interpretation and manipulation’ (Robbins et al 2004, p.403). An example of this in Nepean Hospital may be where there are only 15 ‘syringe drivers’ in the hospital, but 20 nurses require them for their patients and therefore some nurses may resort to political behaviour to ensure that they do not miss out. When the pattern of resources change or are changing, individuals may see this as an opportunity to increase their department’s resources. Lastly, when there is an opportunity for promotion, many individuals will utilize political behaviour to ensure that they have a greater likelihood of achieving that advancement.