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Leader Advancement Motive, Political Skill, Leader Behavior, and Effectiveness: A Moderated Mediation Extension of Socioanalytic Theory

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Abstract

We examine socioanalytic theory from a leadership perspective and extend this research to examine the mediating mechanisms through which leader getting ahead motive and social competence influence leader effectiveness outcomes. A first-stage moderated mediation model was tested and supported, positioning the Leader Motive to Get Ahead × Political Skill interaction as influencing perceived institutional effectiveness and follower satisfaction with one’s leader through leader initiating structure behavior. This research both supports the relevance of socioanalytic theory for predicting leadership outcomes and extends socioanalytic theory to examine a mediating mechanism through which the interaction of the leader getting ahead motive and social competencies affects relevant performance outcomes. Contributions, strengths and limitations, directions for future research, and practical implications are discussed.
... Mintzberg, 1983;Pfeffer, 1981) have argued leaders must be political to be effective. As a result, researchers have devoted increasing attention to the relationship between leaders' political skill and leader effectiveness outcomes, including managerial job performance (Semadar et al., 2006;Smith et al., 2009), follower ratings of leader effectiveness (Ewen et al., 2013), team performance (Ahearn et al., 2004;, leader-member exchange (Brouer et al., 2013), and follower satisfaction (Ewen et al., 2013(Ewen et al., , 2014. Interestingly, arguments for being political as key to leader effectiveness originated from suggestions that leaders must have the requisite skill to behave politically (Ferris & Hochwarter, 2011;Jay, 1967;Mintzberg, 1983;Pfeffer, 1981). ...
... Mintzberg, 1983;Pfeffer, 1981), only recently have scholars devoted research attention to the beneficial effects of the intersection of leadership and organizational politics. Much of this research has focused on the positive effects of leader political skill (e.g., Ahearn et al., 2004;Brouer et al., 2013;Ewen et al., 2013Ewen et al., , 2014Frieder et al., 2019;Semadar et al., 2006;Smith et al., 2009). A notable exception is Kane-Frieder et al.'s (2014) examination of how employee perceptions of supervisor support can mitigate the negative effects of politics perceptions. ...
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Organizations long have been referred to as political arenas which leaders must navigate with skill and savvy. However, investigations of the role of leader political behavior on leader effectiveness largely have been avoided, perhaps due to historically negative connotations of organizational politics. Recently, a base of conceptual literature has begun to grow regarding the positive possibilities of organizational politics, including the potential benefits followers may reap from leaders’ political support. However, empirical research testing the theoretical tenets of leader political support (LPS) is lacking. Thus, the purpose of this investigation was to advance a more political perspective of leader effectiveness by developing and validating a psychometrically sound measure of LPS. Using a multi‐phase, six‐sample approach, we provide evidence of content validity, internal consistency, convergent validity, discriminatory validity, and criterion‐related validity of our measure of LPS. These findings advance knowledge by demonstrating that leaders’ political behavior contributes to their effectiveness across a number of different conceptualizations. Additionally, the validation of the construct facilitates future research on LPS that can further evaluate its importance for leaders and their followers.
... Enterprising jobs demand social skill to be successful (Blickle et al. 2012;Ewen et al. 2013), while cognitive intelligence is of minor importance for job performance (Judge, Colbert, and Ilies 2004;Vinchur et al. 1998). In both sales jobs and leadership jobs, the motive to get ahead is a strong predictor of performance when moderated by social competence (Blickle, Wendel, and Ferris 2010;Ewen et al. 2014). We therefore call for constructive replications of the socioanalytic approach to the AC method in recruitment and selection for leadership jobs. ...
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Assessment centers (AC) are one of the most common selection and recruitment methods in today’s business world, with very high acceptance in practice. The AC research literature, however, has focused on managerial performance and neglected sales performance. Therefore, we assessed the features of ACs for sales positions. The results indicated that AC ratings designed for sales positions exhibited good interrater agreement and were distinct. The criterion-related validity of AC observer ratings was in the normal range of ACs designed for managerial jobs in terms of overall assessment rating scores. Additionally, we tested a new approach to ACs for salesperson selection based on the socioanalytic theory of personality. We hypothesized and found that motivation for sales success combined with social competence predicts field sales performance one year later. This interaction effect explained incremental variance in objective performance above and beyond exercises and overall assessment rating scores. Operational validity compared to the traditional approach increased by 25%. The true score criterion validity of the new approach was .49. We discuss implications and limitations.
... Psychology Also, Kaiser and Hogan (2011) support that personality-performance relationships are curvilinear, as they have found scores about 1 standard deviation above the normative mean (and scores slightly below the mean) to be associated with excessive behaviors. Indeed, Hogan has contributed to a current extension of socioanalytic theory (Ewen et al., 2014), testing for political skill-"the ability to effectively understand others at work, and to use such knowledge to influence others to act in ways that enhance one's personal and/or organizational objectives" (Blickle et al., 2011: p. 291)-as a moderating condition in personality-job performance relations. To exemplify this, Blickle, Wendel, & Ferris (2010) report finding an extraversion x political skill interaction for car sales people; for those high on political skill, higher levels of extraversion were associated with higher levels of sales, while for individuals low on political skill, higher levels of extraversion were associated with lower levels of sales. ...
... Additionally, across many studies, political skill has associated with various group-and organizationlevel criteria, as well as supervisor-rated performance (Munyon et al., 2015). Furthermore, similar to the present study, prior research found support for a moderated mediation model where political skill moderated the relationship between leader traits and behaviors, resulting in improved leader effectiveness (i.e., Ewen et al., 2014). As a result, leader effectiveness will be heightened by transformational leadership (Judge & Piccolo, 2004), and Machiavellianism will have a moderated mediation relationship with leader effectiveness. ...
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Research on the effectiveness of Machiavellian leaders has found contradictory results. By linking Socioanalytic and Trait Activation theory to the Machiavellianism and leadership literature, we argue that political skill may explain these findings by moderating the relation between Machiavellianism and leadership effectiveness. Using a multisource design and moderated mediation analyses with 153 leaders, 287 subordinates, and 153 superiors, we show that leaders who are both strongly politically skilled and high on Machiavellianism successfully enact transformational leadership, mediating improved leader effectiveness. However, when leader political skill is low, high Machiavellianism is negatively associated with (subordinate-rated) transformational leadership, resulting in lower leader effectiveness ratings by superiors. We discuss these results in light of current research on Machiavellianism in leadership and work contexts.
... Such activities provide a physical structure that helps turn the idea of "us" into something real and tangible (Reicher & Haslam, 2017a;Smith, Haslam, & Nielsen, 2018). In line with this point, leaders who actively define group objectives, roles, rules, procedures, tasks, communication methods, rituals, and other practical activities for group members have been shown to engender increased follower commitment (Borgmann, Rowold, & Bormann, 2016), to influence greater satisfaction with their leadership (Ewen et al., 2014), and to be seen as more effective (Piccolo et al., 2012). In contrast, leaders who are seen to introduce unwanted structural changes to a group, to manage necessary changes poorly, or to fail in giving due consideration to the things that matter to the group have been found to engender poor group performance, negative follower attitudes, lower levels of trust, as well as high turnover (Anand & Barsoux, 2017;Bordia, Restubog, Jimmieson, & Irmer, 2011). ...
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When contesting for political office, leaders do not only seek to build their own following but also to engage in attacks to destabilize opponent leaders. However, research has yet to explore and explain the nature of attacks that seek to destabilize a leader's influence. Building on the identity leadership model which sees leadership as flowing from a leader's capacity to promote a sense of shared identity with followers, we argue that a leader can be destabilized if followers come to see the leader as defiling, devaluing, dividing, and destroying this shared sense of “us”. To explore these ideas, we analyzed the attack rhetoric used by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during the 2016 U.S. presidential debates to examine how they sought to subvert each other's leadership. Our analysis supports the proposed model and sheds light on the hitherto underexplored topic of leadership destabilization. Moreover, by helping us understand the ways in which principles of identity leadership can be weaponized to destabilize leadership, the analysis defines an important agenda for future research.
... We collected the following other dependent variables in Study 2: abusive supervision (Tepper, 2000), leader vision (Greer et al., 2012), leader-member exchange (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995), employee work engagement (Schaufeli et al., 2006), employee job satisfaction (Judge et al., 2000), employee affective commitment (Meyer & Allen, 1997), and employee satisfaction with leader (Ewen et al., 2014). We report the relationships between these variables and the two dimensions of mindfulness in the Supplemental Materials. ...
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Despite much research on leader authenticity, its antecedents remain poorly understood. We develop a self-regulatory model of leader authenticity. The model explains how both mindful self-regulated attention and political skill, as well as their interaction, are important for leaders to be authentic, and ultimately effective. Mindful self-regulated attention – a core dimension of mindfulness defined as sustained attention centered on the present moment – helps leaders stay connected to their core self amid the busyness of their (work) lives, allowing leaders to feel authentic. And, particularly in combination with political skill – a social effectiveness construct –, it helps leaders interact with their employees in a way that is experienced as authentic and effective. In an experimental study with leaders (Study 1) we found that leaders who mindfully self-regulate their attention feel more authentic. In a two-wave multi-source field study (Study 2) we found that leader self-regulated attention was positively associated with employee perceptions of leader authenticity and effectiveness. Further, this relation was stronger when leader political skill was high. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of this research.
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The purpose of this study is to extend goal-focused leadership research. To accomplish our objective, we raise the questions: When do leaders work to foster and support the goal achievement of followers and can leaders’ efforts toward followers’ goal achievement impact followers’ attachment to the organization? Subsequently, this study asserts that leaders’ own psychological states – specifically organization-based self-esteem (OBSE) – influence leaders’ motivation to provide goal-focused leadership, but that leaders’ skills – particularly political skill – are important as well. Whereas leader OBSE (i.e., want to) represents a leader’s heightened motivation and belief that he or she can make a positive impact within an organization, leader political skill (i.e., can do) captures a leader’s ability to be an effective leader who encourages and supports organizationally-valued follower goal attainment. Further, using social exchange theory, we argue that the outcomes of goal-focused leadership include an enhanced attachment to the organization, as followers recognize and reciprocate the effort and resources given to them by the leader. Findings from a multi-source cross-sectional field survey of leader and follower dyads demonstrate that leader OBSE impacts follower affective commitment and turnover intentions via goal-focused leadership. Moreover, this particular indirect effect is enhanced when leader political skill is relatively high compared to relatively low. Implications, limitations, and future research are discussed.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to review the scholarship on political skill and political will so that the authors might inspire future work that assesses these constructs individually and in tandem. Design/methodology/approach The “political skill” and “political will” concepts were introduced about 40 years ago, but they only have been measured and produced empirical results much more recently. Since that time, substantial research results have demonstrated the important roles political skill and political will play in organizational behavior. This paper provides a comprehensive review of this research, draws conclusions from this work and provides a meta-theoretical framework of political skill and political will to guide future work in this area. Findings Scholarship in this area has developed quite rapidly for political skill, but less so for political will. The authors hope that recent developments in a political will can set the stage for scholars to create a theoretical and empirical balance between these two related constructs. Originality/value The authors corral the vast and widespread literature on political skill and will and distill the information for scholars and practitioners alike.
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It is of growing concern that supervisors sometimes engage in destructive leadership behavior to undermine their subordinates, which exacts a psychological toll on these employees. How can employees mitigate and overcome the adverse psychological effects of supervisor undermining? Invoking theories of personal agency and social competencies, this study addresses this important question by examining the effectiveness of employee voice in buffering the adverse effects of supervisor undermining on employee work-related wellbeing and turnover intention. Through a three-wave field study, we found that voice plays a buffering role in the relationship between supervisor undermining and these outcome variables only when employees possess high levels of political skill (i.e., three-way interactions), and that this buffering effect is realized through mitigating the adverse effects of supervisor undermining on employee psychological empowerment. In contrast, when employees possess low levels of political skill, engaging in high levels of voice exacerbates the detrimental effects of supervisor undermining on employee psychological empowerment, and subsequently decreases employee work-related wellbeing and heightens employee turnover intention. The theoretical and practical implications of our findings are discussed.
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Bu kitapta; örgütsel davranış alanyazınında ele alınan “otantik liderlik”, “politik yeti”, “güven”, “lider etkililiği” ve “alturistik davranışlar” konuları biraraya getirilmektedir. Ayrıca hemşirelik mesleği açısından önem arz eden bu konulardan hareketle bir araştırma modeli kurulmakta ve bu model hemşireler üzerinde test edilmektedir. Authentic Leadership and Political Skill in Organizations: A Research into Nurses (with English Summary)
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Studies that combine moderation and mediation are prevalent in basic and applied psychology research. Typically, these studies are framed in terms of moderated mediation or mediated moderation, both of which involve similar analytical approaches. Unfortunately, these approaches have important shortcomings that conceal the nature of the moderated and the mediated effects under investigation. This article presents a general analytical framework for combining moderation and mediation that integrates moderated regression analysis and path analysis. This framework clarifies how moderator variables influence the paths that constitute the direct, indirect, and total effects of mediated models. The authors empirically illustrate this framework and give step-by-step instructions for estimation and interpretation. They summarize the advantages of their framework over current approaches, explain how it subsumes moderated mediation and mediated moderation, and describe how it can accommodate additional moderator and mediator variables, curvilinear relationships, and structural equation models with latent variables.