Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

Politics and Justice: A Mediated Moderation Model

Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

Politics and Justice: A Mediated Moderation Model

Article excerpt

Organizational politics are complex phenomena, particularly because their existence is interpreted through the perceptions of individual organizational members. Each individual's perception of organizational politics (POP) is a function of his or her own particular characteristics, the social relationships that they have developed within the organization, and certain outcomes and consequences such as reward allocations and job attitudes. Ferris, Russ, and Fandt (1989) developed a conceptual framework and working definition of organizational politics that identified antecedents, outcomes, and moderators of POP. They define politics as a "social influence process in which behavior is strategically designed to maximize short-term or long-term self-interest, which is either consistent with or at the expense of others' interests" (1989: 145). Other researchers have subsequently refined and extended this model (e.g., Ferris et al., 2002; Kacmar et al., 1999; Valle and Perrewe, 2000). These researchers suggest that certain situations in organizations (e.g., those that are ambiguous, uncertain, or subjectively determined) are conducive to political perceptions.

Some researchers (e.g., Ferris et al., 1996; Valle and Perrewe, 2000; Vigoda, 2000) have examined the pivotal role of POP as a mediator of the relationship between particular antecedents and outcomes, while others have examined political perceptions as a moderator of workplace phenomena (e.g., Harris et al., 2005; Hochwarter et al., 2000). Antecedents found to be significantly related to POP include hierarchical level (Ferris et al., 1999), feedback (Kacmar et al., 1999), interaction with supervisors (Valle and Perrewe, 2000), and career development opportunities (Kacmar et al., 1999; Parker et al., 1995). Outcomes significantly related to POP include job stress (Kacmar et al., 1999), job involvement (Ferris and Kacmar, 1992), job satisfaction (Ferris et al., 1996), and pay satisfaction (Zhou and Ferris, 1995). Previous research has treated antecedents as independent of one another in empirical testing of the POP model. We believe that it is important to begin to explore the highly interactive nature of antecedent variables commonly included in models of POP, and the transmitted effects of such interactions on outcomes associated with organizational politics. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine the interactive roles of one type of individual difference, locus of control, and an aspect of one's relationship with their supervisor, leader-member exchange quality, in the prediction of perceptions of distributive justice, as mediated by POP.

In the following sections, we introduce the theoretical framework associated with our mediated moderation model. First, we introduce our two antecedents, work locus of control and leader-member exchange. Next, we discuss the concept of POP. We then discuss our outcome variable, distributive justice. Lastly, we develop hypotheses in order to test the relationships in our model (see Figure I).

A COGNITIVE SOCIAL LEARNING MODEL OF POLITICAL PERCEPTIONS

According to cognitive social learning (CSL) theory, perception is cognitively constructed and the nature of the relationship between job perceptions and job attitudes is purely one of reciprocity (James and Jones, 1980; James and Tetrick, 1986). An individual makes inferences about events in a social setting based on stimuli that are captured and interpreted individually. Such inferences are then impacted by an individual's unique characteristics (e.g., personality traits), pre-existing expectations and schemata, attributions, and relationships with others, as well as other influences. Thus, employee perceptions about organizational settings are affected by individual interpretations of a situation, rather than being a function of an objective description of the relevant environment (Fiske and Taylor, 1991). The variables of interest in this study interact within individuals' socially constructed realities. …

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