He was an active politician in the independent city-state of Florence. After working in the government and diplomatic positions for a while, he was influenced by the Prince of Papal states, Cesare Borgia, under whom Machiavelli hoped to unite Italy. But this dream had to be abandoned when Medici came to power and he was dismissed from office. As an unemployed person, he soon started writing. "The Prince" was written mainly to please the Medicis, but it made him further unpopular with them. His real thoughts were mirrored in Discourses on Livy that explains his complete political philosophy even though the marred legacy of The Prince haunted him beyond the grave.
The Prince argues that any kind of ruthless, unethical, immoral ways could be exercised to gain the principality and to rule it with an iron hand effectively and successfully. He disregarded all conventionally moral and accepted ways of attaining and ruling a country in favor of establishing and retaining a powerful authoritarian state, whatever the means could be. He reiterates that the vitality, power, strength, intuition, cleverness of the lone, all-powerful figure of the Prince is the only factor that matters in the administration of any principality. The Discourses on Livy is an impressive review of Roman Republic with transparent admiration for the republican Government.
"Here, too, however, ...
s one that judges the skill of all participants in terms of the efficacy with which they achieve noble ends" http://www.philosophypages.com/ph/macv.htm
Machiavelli's principles could be effectively applied to today's governing of large organizations, sometimes, in these days of globalization, even across the boundaries of nations. In a hypothetical large organization, the distribution and exercise of power is as critical as that of a State. Any organization, as in State, secrecy and confidentiality are absolutely necessary for any action to be effective. Organizations, plagued with informers, whose future actions could be forestalled by competitors, could never be successful.
"No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution," Machiavelli from The Art of War, http://www.lucidcafe.com/library/96may/machiavelli.html
Machivelli talks about a monarchical rule and a powerful ruler at its helm. The policies recommended by him would go a long way in discouraging mass political activism, or democracy. He did not recommend a totally despotic rule, but a benevolent rule with a firm hand, but with considerable individual rights. He also recommended that monarch can use his power in a judicious way without disturbing the private traditional lives of his people, actually keeping in mind that he is responsible for their material prosperity. He was a political thinker and did not think that politics of the state should be governed by moral or religious absolutism, and the ruler, under difficult circumstances, might not be held responsible, even if he takes actions infringing the private rights of citizens, as those actions might be necessary for the state. These principles in a smaller way, apply to organizations. The