Competition has definitely been attributed as one of the primary reasons American business has been so successful. No surprise then, the American workplace is also competitive as well. Unfortunately, a side effect of competition is the nature of office politics, particularly when competition is not just based on performance. When networking, familiarity, friendships, and relationships have an influence in competitiveness for better-paying roles, then politics can trigger some negative reactions as people jockey to out-maneuver each other for a promotion or better pay.
Some career paths thrive on competition and office politics. However, team projects and teamwork are not areas where this is productive. After all, the whole point of being on a team is to function as a team, not as competing individuals. That said, politics are pervasive, and can appear at every level of employment. Thus it’s management’s responsibility to keep a cap on this potentially negative element, especially when teams are charged with important work that needs to get done.