Citizens' Perceptions of Politics and Ethics in Public Administration: A Five-Year National Study of Their Relationship to Satisfaction with Services, Trust in Governance, and Voice Orientations
Vigoda-Gadot, Eran, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory
In recent decades organizational politics (OP), and especially the way it is perceived by employees and managers, has became a field of great interest in business administration, management, and applied psychology. Studies have suggested that the ways employees perceive their workplace in terms of political climate, power struggles, influence tactics, and ethical decisions are meaningful in many respects. For example, organizations that are perceived as more political in nature are also considered less fair and less ethical (Ferris and Kacmar 1992; Kacmar and Ferns 1991). Furthermore, higher levels of organizational politics often indicate the presence of injustice and the inequitable distribution of resources among employees and even among external clients of the organization (Thompson and Ingraham 1996). Such an environment and atmosphere may also result in diminished employee performance, higher levels of stress and strain (Harris and Kacmar 2005; Vigoda 2002), lower levels of job satisfaction, reduced commitment to the organization, and additional negative reactions by employees such as the delivery of low-quality services, increased turnover intentions, and higher rates of actual turnover (Ferris et al. 1996; Folger, Konovsky, and Cropanzano 1992; Vigoda-Gadot 2003).
Nonetheless, the perception of organizational politics has been studied thus far from only one perspective--the intraorganizational one. As far as we could find, to date no study has discussed this concept from an extraorganizational perspective and from the point of view of other stakeholders such as the clients, the customers, or the citizens. This fact is strongly supported in a recent review of developments in organizational politics (Vigoda-Gadot 2003). Whereas employees and managers are an important source of knowledge about internal politics and power games inside the workplace, other stakeholders in the organization may also have their valuable, independent perceptions of politics in administrative systems. Moreover, when public organizations are considered, such perceptions and understanding of the political climate may shed light on a wider range of consequences, such as citizens' attitudes toward government, trust and faith in public sector agencies and their behavioral intentions, as well as actual behaviors in the democratic realm.
Hence, the prime goal of this article is to suggest a study of organizational politics and ethics in the public sector, this time from the point of view of citizens as clients or customers of the bureaucratic machinery. The article hopes to make a cross-disciplinary contribution by applying the considerable knowledge gained in organizational behavior theory to the study of public administration and political science. More specifically, the article attempts to make a linkage between citizens' perceptions of internal politics in public organizations and other perceptions and behaviors of citizens toward government (i.e., satisfaction with services, trust in governance, political efficacy, and political participation). The second goal is therefore to suggest a theoretical model that portrays these relationships more specifically. After establishing the rationale for the model, it will be tested empirically using data collected from a half decade's worth of national surveys.
ORGANIZATIONAL POLITICS: ITS DEFINITION AND RELATIONSHIP WITH FAIRNESS AND ETHICS
The term "organizational politics" has its roots in both political science theory that promoted research into individuals' political behavior (e.g., Almond and Verba 1965; Verba, Schlozman, and Brady 1995) and in conventional management studies that recognized the importance of the informal power game in the workplace (e.g., Mintzberg 1983; Pfeffer 1992). Studies emphasized that it is essential to know more about the covert side of individuals' interest-promotion dynamics in various arenas, which is …
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Publication information: Article title: Citizens' Perceptions of Politics and Ethics in Public Administration: A Five-Year National Study of Their Relationship to Satisfaction with Services, Trust in Governance, and Voice Orientations. Contributors: Vigoda-Gadot, Eran - Author. Journal title: Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. Volume: 17. Issue: 2 Publication date: April 2007. Page number: 285+. © 1999 University of Kansas. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group.
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