Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Moderated Mediation Effect by Group Interaction in a Political Work Environment

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Moderated Mediation Effect by Group Interaction in a Political Work Environment

Article excerpt

Recently, organizational politics has become an important research area. Many researchers have found that politics in the work environment usually leads to negative outcomes for employees, such as low organizational commitment and satisfaction, and high job anxiety and turnover intention (Chang, Rosen, & Levy, 2009; Sowmya & Panchanatham, 2014). In addition, researchers (e.g., Brouer, Harris, & Kacmar, 2011; Chen & Fang, 2008) have found that individual-level moderating variables (e.g., perceived control, understanding) may lessen the negative impact of organizational politics. Nevertheless, there are still many unanswered questions regarding the mechanism through which organizational politics influences individual outcomes and the contextual factor that may play an important moderating role to mitigate the negative impact. Therefore, in this study we have attempted to fill these gaps.

First, many researchers have considered the effect of perceptions of organizational politics (POP) on individual outcomes (Chang et al., 2009; Rosen, Chang, Johnson, & Levy, 2009). However, relatively few have explored the effect of different levels of POP, or political climate, on individual employee outcome, even though researchers have used the concept of work climate extensively in managerial studies (Seibert, Silver, & Randolph, 2004; Yang, Caughlin, Gazica, Truxillo, & Spector, 2014).

Second, few researchers have explored how situational factors (e.g., political climate) impact on individual attitudinal and behavioral outcomes. An exception is Dipboye and Foster (2002), who proposed three mediators (i.e., individual attitudes, knowledge, skills, and abilities, and psychological contract) in their conceptual study. Therefore, it is still short of a convincing theoretical basis and empirical verification. Therefore, further research is required. Rosen et al. (2009) argued that when the work environment is highly political, an impression is created that the organization is incapable of meeting its exchange obligations and responsibilities. Employees will then more easily respond with negative attitudes and behavior. Accordingly, we proposed an alternative mediator, namely, psychological contract breach.

Finally, although previous researchers (e.g., Brouer et al., 2011; Chen & Fang, 2008) have found that the organizational politics-individual outcomes relationship is contingent on individual-level moderating variables, researchers have not yet taken into account how group- or organizational-level moderating variables may affect this relationship. Therefore, we introduced a contextual factor (i.e., group interaction) as a moderator. Group interaction encompasses the process and pattern of communication, coordination, and cooperation among group members (George & Jones, 1999). Perlow, Gittell, and Katz (2004) pointed out that group interaction is seen as the atmosphere that surrounds and, thus, exists in work groups external to the individuals, and is an important group property that shapes individual attitudes and behavior. Johns (2006) also showed that this kind of context may have not only a direct effect but also an interactive effect on individual outcome. Thus, we examined the moderating effect of group interaction on the mediated effect of political climate on employee turnover intention.

Literature Review and Hypotheses Development

Cross-Level Mediating Effect of Psychological Contract Breach

According to Gouldner's (1960) theory of reciprocity, individuals are stimulated by rational self-interest and exhibit helping behavior to create feelings of reciprocity. Consequently, Blau (1964) pointed out that because individuals usually react positively to feelings of reciprocity, they are more willing to provide feedback. When we adopted this theoretical perspective of social exchange to discuss the mediating role of psychological contract breach between political climate and employee turnover intention, two points of view arose. …

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