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When one hears the word politics, many thoughts come to mind such as government, policy and affairs. This means that the field of politics has more than just one meaning. Politics can be defined as the process that people use to provide a framework to organize themselves, societies, and the world and by which they seek to achieve and maintain a distinctive social order and survival. However, at a greater level of thinking it is difficult to come up with a single definition that explains all of the areas that politics may cover. Politics is not something easily defined and in fact much variation exists within this definition from one country to another. Several factors that influence these variations in the definition of politics are the political branch that is dealt with culture and the political system used in the society.  To the best of my knowledge and understanding, the world is full of politics.  The workplace, the church, different organization you name it.  It is not what you know, it is who you know.

Power, the influence one possesses over another, exists in five forms: legitimate, referent, expert, coercive, and reward. The type of power used in an organization affects the employees and the productivity of the organization.  The type of power used in a country affects the people and their survival. It is beneficial to determine which type of power exists in the organization. If the incorrect type of power is used in the business, the company may suffer from high employee turnover rates, low productivity, or some other similar negative outcome. If the in correct power is used in a country there are chances that the country will suffer from war as in the case of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, the list goes on and on.  Consequently, an organization seeking to improve its overall performance considers the type of power used in the organization and seeks to determine if the power base or bases in use are appropriate. The use of an assessment designed to identify these preferred methods of power assists organizations in the profiling of the power in use among individuals. It is also the same when it comes to the power used to govern the people. Power always plays a crucial role in any society, and dictates the future of that society and the members of that society. The usual reason for the collapse of a society is a group or persons want for power, and the lengths to which they will go to achieve this power.

Interestingly, the form of power that seems to be the most worthy of the power bases in the business world is the expert power. One who has great knowledge or experience is certainly worthy of respect and power over others. When combined with another power base, such as referent power, one would truly be a powerful individual.

Some countries such as Canada, United States of America and Sierra Leone contain various cultures. In fact, the dissimilarities in these cultures are what cause people’s behavior to be different. Within multicultural societies, each of the ethnic group’s values must be considered and weighed, as they are members of that society. Some cultural groups are more religiously impacted than others causing them to set ideals that are more ethically related. For example, Christians may set peace and justice as high values. Education is highly valued in many cultures. In fact, education tends to be valued more in Asian cultures such as Chinese and Indian. Furthermore, people with a higher education know more therefore, they tend to have a better understanding of the meaning of politics. Sierra Leone is gradually becoming a nation that in the not too distant future would be considered as one country with a high value of education, it would help the populace to determine good or bad politics.  Once the citizens are educated and are able to assess situations no politician would be able to change their views or thinking.

Although the values within the same culture are relatively the same, some values still vary from one family to another, as other factors also exist. For instance, although education is highly valued in Asian cultures, it does not apply to all Asian families. And it is the same method and theory used all over the world.  In not so wealthy families, basic needs have to be sufficiently met, before education can be concentrated on. Those who are wealthy have less to worry about, enabling them to have time and/or money for education. Yet in countries where there is free public education, those who are poor need to use their time working to earn enough money to pay for food and rent and therefore leaving not enough time for them to go to school.

Politics occurs when trying to bring individuals from opposing sides together. Politics is, in fact, the art of the possible. This is when problems will start in an organization or in a country. To a number of people power and politics, mean power as in ruling a country, and money as in gaining national wealth and eliminating poverty. For others, it may be as simple as keeping peace and social order. Politics is an abstract concept that can be described in so many ways. Although it is unnecessary to put all of the definitions of politics into practical use, it is good to have them present as they describe the countless aspects of politics that is needed for academic study and also to identify the changes as politics continue to evolve. The world is constantly turning and changing. Cultures and traditions transform as humans adjust to the changes of their environment. Studies will broaden as more knowledge is gained. In addition, laws change frequently to fit changes in a society’s attitudes and needs. Therefore, the meaning of politics will also change making it even harder to define.

Nanette Thomas, President APC Dallas Chapter

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