• August 19, 2021
  • Managing Political Party

Let’s say you are the CEO of a big company with many branches, large revenues and thousands of employees, and then you are suddenly given the job to lead a major political party of Nepal, anyone, no ideological bias accepted. How would your job differ?

Concerns as a CEO of a business company
It would start with the business idea:
●    How is the company going to make money?
●    Can the business model be made systematic and scalable?
Then you would go to finance:
●    What assets are needed to create income?
●    How to raise the capital to acquire those assets?
Then you would go to operations:
●    How to produce the desired quality and quantity?
●    How to make the process efficient?
Time would come to HR
●    How to utilize the people working for you in the most optimal way?
And so on.

Concerns in case of managing a political party
As quoted in a research, ‘Modern Political Party Management - What Can Be Learned from International Practices?’, by Catrina Schläger and Judith Christ (Eds.), the concern would be a bit different:
● How to react to social changes? 
● How and to what extent can party members be included in intra-party decision-making? 
● In what way do parties deal with internal conflicts? 
● How can corruption be dealt with and prevented within a party? 

Nowadays, political parties are part of different political, economic and social systems and accordingly face different challenges, but when it comes to their management, they all have one thing in common:

● Management is closely connected with the perception of the political system they are part of. Democratic parties will have democratic style of management and autocratic parties will have autocratic style of management, in simplistic understanding. 
● Forms of mismanagement and the abuse of power within political parties have a strong negative impact on citizens’ consent towards the political system they live in and on the legitimacy of the political party itself. Consequently, it is a serious task for all parties to continuously improve their party management, to adapt it to the latest changes and challenges within the societies they represent and to search for institutionalized forms of party management that guarantee good governance.”

General prescription from the general public
If you asked a layman with some decent level of political acumen in the streets of Nepal, the recommendation he would give would go in the following line:
Being in charge of the government, political parties have the major role manage overall system of the country. Those include to cater various departments, ministry, wards, municipality and VDCS. Therefore, HR system, policies or overall HR of government should be strong. Job descriptions or the authority/responsibility mix related to matters like who is controlling and monitoring overall system of the country should be clear. People management should be done properly by them. Rather than executing and initiating proper systems or adopting concepts  of HR by a single party, it should be executed and initiated or adopted by central parties themselves. If so, will be lead example to other organization (private or other public) within the country.  

Political parties are not made of machines, or even technologies. It is a system full of people.  Unlike the screw ups in business like with Samsung Note 7’s battery, here the biggest threat is mismanagement within the political parties that give rise to:
● Misuse, abuse or under-use of power
● Fragmented decision making processes 
● Internal conflict, polarization and fractions
● Corruption
All these are the symptoms of what we call ‘poor governance’. These result in the distrust the public akin to dissatisfied customer. If all parties are mismanaged there is no problem for anyone in the next election. But let’s say someone hires you as the CEO of their party and you establish of the systems like HR department in the party, that would transform your party into one with ‘excellent governance’. Sure our votes will go to a well-managed party.