History

Since Dennis Moberg started teaching Organizational Politics at Santa Clara University, he has taught, mentored, and counseled hundreds of graduate business students. Moberg’s interest in the subject began when, as an MBA working at the headquarters of a major oil company, he noticed that many of his technically adept colleagues repeatedly made unforced political errors at work. A keen observer of the unspoken rules of the office even at 24, Moberg decided that workplace politics was a subject worthy of study. He entered the doctoral program at the University of Southern California with the idea of pursuing this interest, but he was discouraged by the lack of interest among his faculty colleagues. Then, in 1976, Professor Lyman Porter in his presidential address to the Academy of Management echoed Moberg’s opinion that office politics was indeed worthy of academic research.[1] Subsequently, he began teaching Organizational Politics in SCU’s MBA Program first as a course entitled, “Organizational Decision-making and Problem Solving,” and later as “Organizational Politics.” From the beginning, Professor Moberg was always most interested in promoting practices that were ethical rather than manipulative. Accordingly, working with colleagues Manny Velasquez and Jerry Cavanagh, he developed a practical way of rigorously discriminating between ethical and unethical political maneuvers.[2] That article has become a classic.

Although it started slowly, research on office politics exploded in the 1990s. Today, a search on the subject in a major scholarly database resulted in over 500 books, articles, and papers. And this swells to well over a thousand when searches include related subjects like influence, power, and political skill.

One year before his retirement in 2013, Professor Moberg decided to maintain his stature as a public intellectual on this topic by beginning this blogsite. By reporting and commenting on research on the topic of office politics, he hopes to serve all those committed to the exercise of power and influence for the common good.



[1] L. W. Porter. 1976. Organizations as political animals. Presidential address, Academy of Management, San Francisco.

[2] G. Cavanagh, D. Moberg, & M. Velasquez. 1981. The ethics of organiza­tional politics. Academy of Management Review, 6: 363‑374.