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We May Be Different, but I Can Help You: The Effects of Leaders Political Skills on Leader-Follower Power Distance Value Incongruence and Withdrawal Behavior

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Abstract

Based on a resource perspective, the authors investigated how leader–follower power distance value incongruence influences employees’ withdrawal behavior. Data were collected twice in China, and the sample included 66 leaders and 350 followers. Leader–follower power distance value incongruence was found to be associated with the psychological workplace strain experienced by followers, indicating that incongruence was a stressor for this group and further influenced their withdrawal behavior. Moreover, incongruence had asymmetrical effects; that is, followers experienced higher psychological workplace strain when their power distance was lower than that of their leaders, compared with when their power distance was higher. The authors also found that the leader’s role can make a difference, as the leaders’ political skill mitigated the effect of value incongruence on their followers’ psychological workplace strain. The study provides a novel extension of value congruence theory and also contributes to the field of value conflict management.

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... This line of inquiry largely extends from the work of Mintzberg (1983Mintzberg ( , 1985, who perceived politics as a fact of organizational life that needed to be navigated but took a fairly negative stance, referring to organizational politics as typically divisive and illegitimate in nature (Mintzberg 1983). However, some of his contemporary organizational theorists (e.g., Bacharach & Lawler 1980, Pfeffer 1981 tended to view politics in a more neutral way, as something that was an inherent part of organizations, often necessary for them to function effectively and, perhaps, even survive. More recently, scholars have expanded the view of organizational politics to also include positive aspects (e.g., Fedor et al. 2008, Hochwarter 2012, arguing that politics can be a mechanism for restoring justice, providing for followers, and as a source of positive change . ...
... Examining attitudinal outcomes, Treadway et al. (2004) tested and found support for a model demonstrating that leaders' political skill predicted follower organizational commitment through the multiple mediating mechanisms of perceived organizational support, trust in leader, cynicism, and job satisfaction. From a stress perspective, Bai et al. (2017) found that leaders' political skill can reduce subordinates' psychological workplace strain by mitigating the effects of value incongruence. ...
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Organizational politics has been an oft-studied phenomenon for nearly four decades. Prior reviews have described research in this stream as aligning with one of three categories: perceptions of organizational politics (POPs), political behavior, or political skill. We suggest that because these categories are at the construct level research on organizational politics has been artificially constrained. Thus, we suggest a new framework with higher-level categories within which to classify organizational politics research: political characteristics, political actions, and political outcomes. We then provide a broad review of the literature applicable to these new categories and discuss the possibilities for future research within each expanded category. Finally, we close with a discussion of future directions for organizational politics research across the categories. The full article can be found at: http://www.annualreviews.org/eprint/Ibk4Ugg76fRW6hd5CExn/full/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-012218-015221
... It has been shown that individuals with PS experience less role ambiguity [14]. Leaders with low PB may not be able to recognize the inconsistency of power distance between themselves and their followers, or may not be capable of solving problems with potential [15]. Politically skilled employees have the ability to act as components expect, which helps them create a positive image in the workplace [16]. ...
... Politically skilled employees have the ability to act as components expect, which helps them create a positive image in the workplace [16]. In a study, it was shown that leaders with high levels of political skills can moderate the relationship between psychological workplace strain and deprivation behavior on employees [15]. In another study, it was found that leaders with a high level of political skill explain a significant variance in team performance scores. ...
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Political skill is a positive force and is elemental to job and career success in organizations today. The aim of this study is to determine political skill perception among nurses. A cross-sectional survey design was used for this study. This study consisted of all of the nurses working at a public university hospital in the city of Istanbul. The total count sampling method was used in the study. A questionnaire form was delivered to all nurses and the purpose of the study was explained, and data was collected from 516 individuals. The Political Skills Scale was used in data collection. The political skill levels of nurses are above average. Positive relationships between scores from the “forming relationship networks” sub-dimension and age, occupational experience, and duration of employment within the institution were found. Nurses with management duties were found to have significantly higher scores in the same sub-dimension compared to those without, while nurses who worked at service units had significantly lower scores in the same sub�dimension compared to nurses working at other units. In order to increase the political skills of nurses, all political skill dimensions, especially social networking skills, should be supported and developer activities and group works should be done. Political skills can help increase our understanding of the impact processes in organizations and human resource decisions and actions, as managers and employees affect many variables such as organizational policy, performance evaluation, interpersonal communication, networking ability, stress, and social capital.
... Various scholars have mapped political skill as a social competency, which allows the user to gain knowledge of others at the workplace and use that knowledge situationally to influence others to achieve personal or organizational goals (Ferris et al., 2005). An employee with enhanced political skill performs in a manner that boosts trust without exposing the ulterior motives (Bai et al., 2017;Buch et al., 2016;Ferris et al., 2002;Lu & Guy, 2016). Political skill is a social competency that helps the user negotiate situationally with the environment in achieving specific goals, building trust within that environment. ...
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The purpose of this study to ascertain if there is any variation in political skill dimensions ((a) social astuteness, (b) interpersonal influence, (c) networking ability and (d) apparent sincerity) exhibited by employees in India’s seven industry sectors. In this study, the Political Skill Inventory (PSI) is used to examine such variations. Five hundred fifty survey respondents are employed in seven sectors viz. automobile, education, finance, fast moving consumer goods, health, information technology and telecom. The results exemplify that statistically significant differences are exhibited in these political skill dimensions by the employees in different industry sectors chosen for this research. Since these differences are reflected on four dimensions of the political skill, this study makes a unique contribution by developing an understanding of individual dimensions of political skill, thus, enabling greater insight into skill enhancement at various levels. Further, this study contributes by furnishing insights on skills useful for practitioners to understand dominance and lack of industry-specific skills within PSI inventory. The implications of this study could be in the areas such as personnel selection, framing skill development tools and programmes, enhancing job performance, achieving organizational goals and improvising organizational culture.
... Under the first perspective, political behavior is unsanctioned and illegitimate. However, under the second perspective, political behavior is an important component of the influence process in the organization (Treadway et al., 2005;Mayes and Allen, 1977) and may result in positive outcomes such as customer satisfaction (Yagil, 2001), advancement and acknowledgment (Drory and Vigoda-Gadot, 2010), positive supervisory rating (Sun and van Emmerik, 2015), reduced workplace strain (Bai et al., 2017) and employees' leadership potential (Xue et al., 2020). An inclusive definition of political behavior is "intentional acts from a broad repertoire that may include influence tactics, self-presentation, impression management, voice and helping behavior to manage (create, maintain, modify or abandon) the shared meanings of organizational situations to produce desired outcomes that would otherwise be unfeasible" (Kapoutsis, 2016, p. 41). ...
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... According to McAllister, Ellen, and Ferris (2018) and Lvina, Maher, and Harris (2017), managers use politics as a tool to get work done through the political environment. However, individuals involved in politics use this to achieve their interests (Bai, Dong, Liu, & Liu, 2017;García-Chas et al., 2019). Some individuals who know that the organizational environment is very political will not leave the organization because of its role as a controller in the organization. ...
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Politics in organizations has been a concern for the job satisfaction of the employees. The minimum research on how politics are in an organization plays an essential role in job satisfaction. In this context, organizational politics are suspected of contributing to employees’ job satisfaction. However, there is limited research discussing political skill as a ‘bridge’ variable between organizational politics and job satisfaction. The research examined the impact of moderation and mediation of political skill on organizational politics and job satisfaction in Ternate City government. It applied a quantitative method. The population was 240 employees from the middle to top management in local government offices. With purposive sampling, 86 respondents working in the Regional Government Work Unit of Ternate City were involved in the survey. The research used a hierarchical regression analysis as a statistical analysis and IBM SPSS statistics Version 24. The results show several results. First, organizational politics influences job satisfaction negatively. Second, organizational politics affect political skill positively. Third, political skill strengthens the relationship between organizational politics and job satisfaction. It mediates and moderates the full relationship between organizational politics and job satisfaction.
... Employees experiencing burnout and still working in the same organization feel less enthusiastic, the quality of their work decreases as their willingness to improve decreases, and they want to leave the organization and find a less stressful working environment. Recurring discrepancies in values between the organization and personal values play a very important role (Amos and Weathington 2008;Gonzalez 2016;Bai et al. 2017;Hylén et al. 2018;etc.). ...
... Employees experiencing burnout and still working in the same organization feel less enthusiastic, the quality of their work decreases as their willingness to improve decreases, and they want to leave the organization and find a less stressful working environment. Recurring discrepancies in values between the organization and personal values play a very important role (Amos and Weathington 2008;Gonzalez 2016;Bai et al. 2017;Hylén et al. 2018;etc.). ...
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In his essay commemorating the famous Hawthorne studies, Harold Leavitt (1975) suggested that people and organizations would be "better off" if groups, not individuals, were the basic building blocks of organi-zations (Hackman, 1987). Since his prophetic essay, the use of groups and teams in organizations has greatly expanded. As the focus of organiza-tions shifted toward quality, innovation, and accountability, an emphasis on the use of work teams emerged (Kozlowski, Gully, Salas, & Cannon-Bowers, 1996). As a result, organizations have restructured and are con-tinuing to restructure work around teams rather than individual jobs (Ilgen, 1994). In parallel, the need and demand for theoretical and empir-ical research on team functioning have intensified. Past reviews of the lit-erature on small groups and teams indicated considerable growth in the volume of team research over this same time horizon (Cohen & Bailey, 1997; Ilgen, Hollenbeck, Johnson, & Jundt, 2005; Kozlowski & Bell, 2003; McGrath, Arrow, & Berdahl, 2000). 1 The increased focus on team research has helped develop convergence on many conceptual developments in the team literature. A recent example is the consensus that has developed regarding teams as complex systems (McGrath et al., 2000). Teams perform over time and within context, creat-ing an environment that introduces a level of complexity not accounted for within traditional cause and effect perspectives on team functioning. For 259 1 Some research distinguishes work teams from work groups, but this chapter does not make this distinction and uses the term teams to refer to work teams and groups. Other scholars have chosen to follow this same path (e.g., Kozlowski & Bell, 2003).
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Does proactive personality always enhance job success? The authors of this study draw on socioanalytic theory of personality and organizational political perspectives to study employees' political skill in moderating the effects of proactive personality on supervisory ratings of employee task performance, helping behaviors, and learning behaviors. Multisource data from 225 subordinates and their 75 immediate supervisors reveal that proactive personality is associated negatively with supervisory evaluations when political skill is low, and the negative relationship disappears when political skill is high. Implications and future research directions are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
The Demand-Control model of occupational stress posits an interaction between job demands and job control predicting psychological strain, but previous research has found such an interaction only rarely or inconsistently. Such research, however, has often failed to measure either demands or strain faithfully to the model's constructs, or has simply failed to test for a statistical interaction. The present study corrected these shortcomings by going back to basics. Using a sample of 115 employees in a manufacturing company, it operationalized the variables more consistently with their original conceptualizations. However, when the hypothesized Demand-Control interaction was then tested, it still failed. Outcomes other than psychological strain (e.g. job dissatisfaction) were related negatively rather than positively to demands. This highlights the difference between psychological strain and dissatisfaction and casts doubt on models positing dissatisfaction as an intervening variable between stressors and strains.
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Considering the influential nature of context, the current investigation examined whether the relationship between role overload and organizational commitment was affected by various contextual factors. Drawing on the occupational stress literature, structural empowerment and cooperative climate were examined as factors that would mitigate the negative effects of role overload on organizational commitment. In addition, national culture was examined to determine whether empowerment and cooperative climate had consistent moderating effects across cultures. The relationships among these variables were examined using hierarchical linear modeling in a sample of 6,264 employees working at a multinational organization in 337 different work locations across 18 countries. Results suggested that the negative effect of role overload on organizational commitment did not vary as a function of culture in the current sample, but empowerment and cooperative climate had a moderating influence on this relationship. Furthermore, a 3-way interaction was observed between the cultural variable of power distance, empowerment, and role overload in predicting organizational commitment, suggesting that factors that serve to mitigate the negative effects of role overload in one culture may be ineffectual in another. This 3-way interaction was observed regardless of whether Hofstede's (2001) cultural value indices were used or the cultural practice scores from the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) project (R. J. House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
We examine the effect of (in)congruence between leaders' and teams' power distance values on team effectiveness. We hypothesize that the (in)congruence between these values would differentially predict team effectiveness, with procedural justice climate serving as a mediator. Using multisource data and polynomial regression, we found that similarities (and differences) between leaders' and their teams' power distance values can have consequential effects on teams' justice climate and, ultimately, their effectiveness (viz., team performance and team organizational citizenship behavior). We conclude that to fully understand the implications of power distance, one should consider the multiple perspectives of both leaders and team members. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
This study seeks to resolve a puzzle of the coexistence of follower cooperative voice and cooperative silence (expressing/withholding work‐related ideas, information, and opinions based on collective, cooperative motives) in the presence of transformational leadership. A sample of 193 bank employees under 52 managers revealed that in the presence of group‐focused transformational leadership, both voice and silence based on cooperative motives increased through the mediation of value congruence between leaders and followers. However, cooperative voice was more likely to be the main response to a high level of value congruence when followers under the same leader perceived individual‐focused transformational leadership uniformly. Under a high level of differentiated individual‐focused transformational leadership, value congruence was likely to result in more cooperative silence. We discuss implications for future research on both leadership and employee voice.
Article
Having estimated a linear regression with p coefficients, one may wish to test whether m additional observations belong to the same regression. This paper presents systematically the tests involved, relates the prediction interval (for m = 1) and the analysis of covariance (for m > p) within the framework of general linear hypothesis (for any m), and extends the results to testing the equality between subsets of coefficients.
Article
While most studies have examined the consequences of different supervisory behaviors, the present study examines some determinants of supervisory actions. It is argued that the behavior of the supervisor is constrained by the demands of others in his role set. It was found that the expectations of a supervisor's boss and those of his subordinates and peers accounted for a significant portion of the observed variation in behaviors across 53 supervisors in the housing division of a large state university. Further, the extent to which supervisors conformed to their bosses' expectations was related to the number of persons and the proportion of the time spent supervising, the demands to produce, the supervisor's sex, and the proportion of the decisions made by superiors. Multivariate analysis indicated that the expectations of subordinates were more important in influencing social behaviors, while the expectations of the bosses were more important in determining work-related behaviors. Results are discussed in terms of Weick's (1969) concept that individuals in an organization will interlock behaviors to obtain a stable mutually satisfying interaction.
Article
A central premise of the procedural justice literature—based on studies conducted mainly in the United States—is that people react unfavorably when they have little voice in a decision-making process. The studies reported here evaluated whether the magnitude of voice effects varies across cultures. As predicted, Studies 1–3 showed that the tendency for people to respond less favorably (i.e., with lower organizational commitment) to lower levels of voice was greater in low power distance cultures (United States and Germany) than in high power distance cultures (People's Republic of China, Mexico, and Hong Kong). And in a single cultural setting, Study 4 found a similar interactive effect of voice and people's power distance beliefs on employees' work attitudes and job performance. Theoretical implications for the justice and cross-cultural literatures are discussed, as are practical implications and suggestions for future research.
Article
This study represents an attempt to individualize values and job satisfaction. Using a specifically designed Value Scale and the J.D.I., a sample of 48 supervisors and 337 subordinates in six production organizations was investigated. It was found that those subordinates who indicate high job satisfaction tend to have value structures more similar to their superiors than do subordinates who evidence lower satisfaction. The implications of this value homogeneity within work groups were advanced and further research suggested.
Article
The present study investigates the impact of the political skill of leaders on team performance. More specifically, this study examined the role of leader political skill in the performance of casework teams in a large state child welfare system. Team performance was operationalized as “permanency rate,” or the successful placement of children into legally final living arrangements (i.e., adoption, successor guardianship, or return to natural parents). After controlling for several contextually important factors (i.e., average caseload, average age of children served, average number of team placements, team member experience, leader experience, and team empowerment), leader political skill was found to explain a significant proportion of variance in team performance scores. Implications of these results, as well as directions for future research, are discussed.
Article
Drawing on a cross-organizational sample of 163 supervisor-subordinate dyads from mainland China, we examined the moderating effect of power distance and Chinese traditionality on relationships between perceived organizational support and work outcomes. We found that both power distance and traditionality altered relationships of perceived organizational support to work outcomes, in that these relationships were stronger for individuals scoring low (versus high) on power distance or traditionality. We also found that, compared to traditionality, power distance was a stronger and more consistent moderator of perceived organizational support-work outcomes relationships. Implications for management theory and practice are discussed.
Article
Conservation of resources (COR) theory is a stress and motivational theory that has been applied broadly in the organizational literature. Increasingly, this literature is transforming from a focus on resource-setting fit to an understanding that ‘fitting’ is an active process that operates dynamically with both individuals and settings altering and metamorphosing. COR theory provides a framework to understand, predict, and examine this transactional relationship that can then be used to shape settings towards more optimal balance of resource cost and benefit. Rather than focusing on single, isolated variables or seeing individuals and settings as independent agents, COR theory suggests that resources exist in caravans. Therefore, employers that hope to ensure employee engagement must maximize the ecology that fosters resource caravan enrichment and challenge that promotes excellence, dedication, and commitment.
Article
As the organizational literature on specific proactive behaviors grows, researchers have noted inefficiencies and redundancies in the separate study of different proactive behaviors when their underlying nature, antecedents, processes, and consequences may be similar. We develop a framework designed to generalize across specific manifestations of proactivity, describing the nature, dimensions, situational antecedents, psychological mechanisms, dispositional moderators, and consequences of proactive behavior. We conclude by discussing implications and recommendations for organizational scholars to take a more proactive approach to constructing, evaluating, and cumulating theory about proactive behavior. Our chapter thus answers recent calls for integrative theory about the general dynamics of proactivity, and fits with current trends emphasizing the increasing importance of proactivity in organizational life.
Article
We examined the neutralizing effects of political skill on relationships between per-ceived role conflict and strain. Strain was measured as psychological anxiety, somatic complaints, and physiological strain (heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure). Results support the moderating effects of political skill: greater political skill reduced the negative effects of role conflict on all types of strain. Job stress continues to be a major problem to-day, costing organizations billions of dollars in employee disability claims, employee absentee-ism, and lost productivity (e.g., Xie & Schaubro-eck, 2001). Because research has supported the deleterious effects of stressors on individuals' mental and physical health (e.g., Spector, Chen, & O'Connell, 2000), it is important to continue examining potential antidotes to strain and the related costs of strain to organizations. According to Lazarus's (1991) transactional theory, stress is a relationship between a person and an environ-ment that the person cognitively appraises (or evaluates) as relevant to his or her well-being, and in which the person's resources are ap-praised as being taxed or exceeded. The essence of the transactional theory of stress is to consider how the individual appraises what is happening in order to understand his or her emotional and physiological reactions (Lazarus, 1991). It is through the appraisal process that the in-dividual and the environment are linked. There are two kinds of appraisal. Primary appraisal refers to what is at stake for the person, the sig-nificance of an encounter for the individual's well-being (Folkman, 1992). Secondary ap-praisal, on the other hand, occurs when the per-son reviews the availability of coping resources for dealing with a stressor and decides what can be done to alleviate the negative impact of that stressor (Folkman, 1992). The focus of this paper is on political skill as an individual characteristic that, we believe, sheds further light on Lazarus's (1991) secondary appraisal construct and, thus, on his transactional theory of stress. Using Lazarus's (1991) transactional theory as-sertions, we examine how one personal charac-teristic, political skill, might moderate the rela-tionship between a work environmental factor, role conflict, and psychological anxiety, somatic complaints, and physiological strain. According to Perrewé , Ferris, Frink, and Anthony (2000), the negative effects arising from a stressor (such as role conflict) should be reduced for individu-als high in political skill because of their in-creased confidence and sense of control. Combin-ing the conceptual work of Lazarus (1991) and Perrewé and colleagues (2000), we argue that po-litical skill is a unique type of coping resource and, thus, an antidote to the dysfunctional con-sequences of stressors.