Politics is the systematic set of social interactions between individuals, including the distribution of status or assets, or both, in societies, groups or political entities. The field of political science is also known as social science because of the focus on the study of human action and politics as a social process. Politics is a subject that has always attracted a wide variety of students, with interests ranging from constitutional law, to demographic analysis, to international relations. In most states, public high school graduates take part in political studies programs intended to train them for careers in academia, politics or community service.
Today, a similar field of study called political science is beginning to appear on college campuses across the country, but in different forms. Whereas political science used to be taught as a separate department at colleges and universities, most curriculums now encourage a separation of the political science department and the traditional sciences. For example, the College of Science at the University of Minnesota, states that while political science is an important part of higher education, it is not science and is not intended to replace science as we know it.
Unlike natural sciences, politics is a continuously changing field. As social conditions and scientific discoveries change the definition of what constitutes a political system, political parties change with them. The most traditional concept of politics was associated with classical liberal democracy, wherein leaders were chosen from a pool of candidates likely to vote for the party. However, more recently, some political scientists have argued that it no longer makes sense to use the term “political” when referring to societal institutions, because such organizations have developed their own systems of governance, and tend to treat their members as passive recipients of benefits when they have not taken active participation in the political process.
One of the reasons why politics is so intertwined with society is that people can rarely make decisions about anything as important as their own life and livelihood without interacting with political institutions. Politics has shaped many of the institutions of modern society: business, science, medicine, law, etc., and the way in which people communicate and interact with each other has changed drastically through time. Today, it is nearly impossible to conduct any type of meaningful communication with someone who does not possess a basic understanding of how politics works. Politics has become a profound part of our everyday life.
In general, the relationship between managers and owners of firms has been viewed as one shaped by politics. Owners typically make decisions that are in line with their business interests, but because of the inherently complex nature of firms (ownership is often divided between a few partners rather than one single owner), the political nature of ownership is more complicated than the conventional understandings of a “top-down” management decision making process. For example, it is not uncommon for senior executives to serve as “ambassadors” between the corporation and labor unions, especially where benefits packages and worker compensation are involved. Likewise, there are very few companies where top management does not serve as corporate ambassadors, typically representing the interests of their own company at various labor and regulatory agencies. As organizations continue to look for innovative solutions to complex managerial problems, more emphasis will be placed upon the need for better coordination and information sharing across different levels of an organizational structure. This may require executive education programs on political issues in order to better understand how they affect the organization as a whole.
The political system is particularly important to entrepreneurs because the nature of entrepreneurship requires an environment in which market entry and exit are not subject to governmental controls. Without a stable political system in place, it is not possible for a business to exist. And without political systems in place in countries around the world, businesses that wish to operate internationally must follow a system of laws that will provide them access to the markets they need to succeed. Without an established political system in place, it is not possible for international trade to occur. In short, entrepreneurs must understand how the political system in a country or state affects the functioning of the business they own and control. Otherwise, they could lose control over their companies through political machinations.