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The Role of Workplace Popularity: Links to Employee Characteristics and Supervisor-Rated Outcomes

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Abstract

Popularity in the workplace is relatively unexplored but has multiple potential applications in organizations. This field study uses data collected from 223 supervisor–subordinate dyads at various organizations in China to examine core self-evaluation (CSE) as an antecedent of employee popularity, the ability of political skill and work engagement to predict popularity above and beyond CSE, and the moderating roles of political skill and work engagement on the relationship between CSE and popularity. The current research also extends potential effects of workplace popularity beyond coworker-related outcomes to supervisor trust and task performance ratings for popular employees. Results showed that political skill and work engagement relate to popularity above and beyond CSE and moderate the CSE–popularity relationship. Employees’ popularity is also positively associated with supervisor trust and task performance ratings. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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... In contrast, when a popular leader scores low on narcissism, he/she is less likely to be motivated by personal power and tends to focus more on collective goals and the development of his/her subordinates (Sosik et al., 2014). As a result, leader is more likely to leverage resources and trust from others associated with higher popularity to improve team performance (Garden et al., 2017;Garden et al., 2018). Furthermore, we propose that leader narcissism may negatively moderate the indirect effect of leader status on team performance through leader popularity, such that the indirect effect is positive only when leader narcissism is low. ...
... Second, we contribute to the popularity literature by identifying leader status as an important antecedent of leader popularity. Although popularity has recently drawn increasing attention from scholars (De Clercq et al., 2021;Garden et al., 2017;Garden et al., 2018;Scott, 2012;Scott & Judge, 2009), the existing studies have exclusively focused on employee popularity. We argue that popularity is also an important characteristic of the leader that serves as the mechanism through which leader status influences team performance. ...
... Indeed, two studies have reported that employee popularity is positively related to task performance (Garden et al., 2017;Garden et al., 2018). However, we argue that the relationship between leader popularity and team performance is more complex. ...
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... As a result of their ability to utilize effective impression management tactics to maintain positive images, politically skilled employees earn high personal reputation (Blass and Blickle et al., 2011d;Dietl et al., 2017;Garden et al., 2018;Harris et al., 2007;Laird et al., 2012) and popularity (Cullen et al., 2014) because they "meet role expectations regarding their professionalism and have a positive image among stakeholders" (Fidan and Koc, 2020). Besides enhancing personal reputation, political skill has been found to help individuals buffer negative impressions caused by race dissimilarity and voice behaviors (Hung et al., 2012). ...
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... Considering high CSE individuals are highly motivated, they are likely to perform better than those who have a low self-construal. Indeed, research has found that high CSE individuals are more popular (Garden, Hu, Zhan, & Wei, 2018) and earn more income (Venz & Gardiner, 2017) as they are more motivated to perform in their jobs. Thus, high CSE individuals consider each task as an opportunity to demonstrate and exhibit their ability and hence perform better. ...
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... For example, someone may not like a scientist but admire him/her work as much as those who love him/her [16] Garden et al. showed leaders' popularity boosts and strengthens employees' and stakeholders' confidence. Furthermore, leaders' popularity increases relationships with others, thereby increases the centers power and credibility [17] The codes of the reliabilism subcategory were similar to other studies' results. ...
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... Considering high CSE individuals are highly motivated, they are likely to perform better than those who have a low self-construal. Indeed, research has found that high CSE individuals are more popular (Garden, Hu, Zhan, & Wei, 2018) and earn more income (Venz & Gardiner, 2017) as they are more motivated to perform in their jobs. Thus, high CSE individuals consider each task as an opportunity to demonstrate and exhibit their ability and hence perform better. ...
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Used social exchange and equity theory to investigate the connection among supervisor trust building activity, leader–member exchange (LMX) quality, and subordinate organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB). Survey data were collected from 86 subordinate–supervisor dyads employed in a variety of organizations. First, perceived fairness emerged as the supervisor trust building behavior most closely associated with OCB. Contrary to the prediction, fairness perceptions were not positively associated with LMX quality. Finally, LMX quality was positively related to subordinate OCB. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Much research has focused on youth who are rejected by peers; who engage in negative behavior, including aggression; and who are at risk for adjustment problems. Recently, researchers have become increasingly interested in high-status youth. A distinction is made between two groups of high-status youth: those who are genuinely well liked by their peers and engage in predominantly prosocial behaviors and those who are seen as popular by their peers but are not necessarily well liked. The latter group of youth is well known, socially central, and emulated; but displays a mixed profle of prosocial as well as aggressive and manipulative behaviors. Research now needs to address the distinctive characteristics of these two groups and their developmental precursors and consequences. Of particular interest are high-status and socially powerful aggressors and their impact on their peers. The heterogeneity of high-status youth complicates the understanding of the social dynamics of the peer group, but will lead to new and important insights into the developmental significance of peer relationships.
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Although the dispositional approach to job satisfaction has garnered considerable research attention in recent years, this perspective often has lacked theoretical concepts that explain how dispositions affect job satisfaction. Because job satisfaction is an affective experience formed through a process of evaluation, an especially promising theoretical approach is to focus on individuals' fundamental (metaphysical) value judgments or ''core evaluations.'' We propose a dispositional model based on core evaluations individuals make about themselves, the world. and other people. We also show how this model helps integrate the dispositional perspective with more traditional models of job satisfaction.
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Over the past five years there has been a growing body of literature that examines the relationships among some of psychology's most studied traits (Neuroticism, self-esteem, and locus of control). Core self-evaluation theory posits a conceptual and empirical relationship between these traits and job satisfaction. After briefly reviewing core self-evaluation theory, we examine the empirical evidence documenting a relationship between these traits and the two central criteria of interest to I/O psychologists—job satisfaction and job performance. We then examine the relationship between core self-evaluation traits and the Big Five personality traits. We conclude with a discussion of the contributions and limitations of core self-evaluation research and opportunities for future research. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Despite an emerging body of research on a personality trait termed core self-evaluations, the trait continues to be measured indirectly. The present study reported the results of a series of studies that developed and tested the validity of the Core Self-Evaluations Scale (CSES), a direct and relatively brief measure of the trait. Results indicated that the 12-item CSES was reliable, displayed a unitary factor structure, correlated significantly with job satisfaction, job performance, and life satisfaction, and had validity equal to that of an optimal weighting of the 4 specific core traits (self-esteem, generalized self-efficacy, neuroti-cism, and locus of control), and incremental validity over the 5-factor model. Overall, results suggest that the CSES is a valid measure that should prove useful in applied psychology research.
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Previous research on encounters between parties of differing status tend to examine the influence of the higher status party (e.g., managers) on the lower status party (e.g., their direct reports), rather than the other way around. We suggest that it is important to examine the reactions of both higher and lower status parties (e.g., their desire for future interaction) to their encounters with one another. Furthermore, both parties’ relative status is hypothesized to influence their desire for future interaction with one another, in conjunction with the outcome favorability associated with the encounter and the other’s procedural fairness. This hypothesis was tested in a pilot study as well as in two full-scale studies. All three studies showed that outcome favorability and procedural fairness interacted to influence participants’ desire for future interaction with the other party. However, the nature of the interactive relationship differed as a function of participants’ relative status. For lower status people, high procedural fairness reduced the positive relationship between outcome favorability and their desire for future interaction with the other party, relative to when procedural fairness was low. For higher status people, high procedural fairness heightened the positive relationship between outcome favorability and desire for future interaction, relative to when procedural fairness was low. Implications for the literatures on relationships in work organizations, organizational justice, and status are discussed.
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This study examined longitudinal relationships between job resources, personal resources, and work engagement. On the basis of Conservation of Resources theory, we hypothesized that job resources, personal resources, and work engagement are reciprocal over time. The study was conducted among 163 employees, who were followed-up over a period of 18 months on average. Results of structural equation modeling analyses supported our hypotheses. Specifically, we found that T1 job and personal resources related positively to T2 work engagement. Additionally, T1 work engagement related positively to T2 job and personal resources. The model that fit best was the reciprocal model, which showed that not only resources and work engagement but also job and personal resources were mutually related. These findings support the assumption of Conservation of Resources theory that various types of resources and well-being evolve into a cycle that determines employees’ successful adaptation to their work environments.
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The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
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Supervisor ratings are useful criteria for the validation of selection instruments but maybe limited because of the presence of rating errors, such as halo. This study set out to show that supervisor ratings which are high in halo remain successful criteria in selection. Following a thorough job analysis, a customer service questionnaire was designed to assess the potential of retail sales staff on three orthogonal subscales labelled Dealing with people, Emotions and energy, and Solitary style. These subscales were uncorrelated with supervisor ratings made about 8 weeks later. However, the supervisor ratings were correlated with an overall scale derived from the three scales of the customer service questionnaire. These results support the view that supervisor ratings generally consist of global impressions and suggest that these global impressions are useful measures of overall performances. This field study confirms laboratory results that halo does not necessarily reduce rating accuracy.
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This study examines the factorial structure of a new instrument to measure engagement, the hypothesized `opposite' of burnout in a sample of university students (N=314) and employees (N=619). In addition, the factorial structure of the Maslach-Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS) is assessed and the relationship between engagement and burnout is examined. Simultaneous confirmatory factor analyses in both samples confirmed the original three-factor structure of the MBI-GS (exhaustion, cynicism, and professional efficacy) as well as the hypothesized three-factor structure of engagement (vigor, dedication, and absorption). Contrary to expectations, a model with two higher-order factors – ‘burnout’ and ‘engagement’ – did not show a superior fit to the data. Instead, our analyses revealed an alternative model with two latent factors including: (1) exhaustion and cynicism (‘core of burnout’); (2) all three engagement scales plus efficacy. Both latent factors are negatively related and share between 22% and 38% of their variances in both samples. Despite the fact that slightly different versions of the MBI-GS and the engagement questionnaire had to be used in both samples the results were remarkably similar across samples, which illustrates the robustness of our findings.
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Fairness heuristic theory was used to examine how information from one's peers affects an individual's interpretation of, and reactions to, an authority's subsequent behavior. Participants (N=105) overheard their peers discuss an experimenter's reputation (fair, unfair, or absent) before interacting with the experimenter who behaved more versus less fairly. Results showed that the social cues biased participants' subsequent information processing: controlling for the experimenter's behavior, interactional justice mediated the effect of social cues on retaliation. Social cues and the authority's behavior also interacted to predict retaliation. Participants who were treated less fairly retaliated more after being led to expect fair treatment than did participants who heard no prior information about the experimenter.
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Past studies of the determinants of interpersonal trust have focused primarily on how trust forms in isolated dyads. Yet within organizations, trust typically develops between individuals who are embedded in a complex web of existing and potential relationships. In this article, the authors identify 3 alternative ways in which a trustor and trustee may be linked to each other via third parties: network closure (linked via social interactions with third parties), trust transferability (linked via trusted third parties), and structural equivalence (linked via the similarity of their relationships with all potential third parties within the organization). Each of these is argued to influence interpersonal trust via a distinct social mechanism. The authors hypothesized that network closure and structural equivalence would predict interpersonal trust indirectly via their impact on interpersonal organizational citizenship behaviors performed within the interpersonal relationship, whereas trust transferability would predict trust directly. Social network analyses of data gathered from a medium-sized work organization provide substantial support for the hypotheses and also suggest important directions for future research.
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Nearly 2 decades ago, social influence theorists called for a new stream of research that would investigate why and how influence tactics are effective. The present study proposed that political skill affects the style of execution of influence attempts. It utilized balance theory to explain the moderating effect of employee political skill on the relationships between self- and supervisor-reported ingratiation. Additionally, supervisor reports of subordinate ingratiation were hypothesized to be negatively related to supervisor ratings of subordinate interpersonal facilitation. Results from a combined sample of 2 retail service organizations provided evidence that subordinates with high political skill were less likely than those low in political skill to have their demonstrated ingratiation behavior perceived by targets as a manipulative influence attempt. Also, when subordinates were perceived by their supervisors to engage in more ingratiation behavior, the subordinates were rated lower on interpersonal facilitation. Implications of these findings, limitations, and future research directions are provided.