SECOND EDITION Looking Back and to the Future
Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Eran Vigoda-Gadot and Amos Drory
Chapter 9: Looking on the bright side: the positive role of organizational politics in the relationship between employee engagement and work performance
Scholars have focused on the negative aspects of organizational politics, defined as self-serving tactics that impede employees’ performance. In contrast, we maintain that organizational politics has positive aspects and moderates the relationship between employee engagement and work performance behaviors such as knowledge sharing, creativity, proactivity and adaptivity. Using data from 253 high-tech employees and their supervisors in Israel, our findings demonstrate that perceptions of organizational politics strengthen the relationship between employee engagement and work performance. When engaged employees perceive their workplace to be political, they are more proactive, creative and adaptive, and more likely to share their knowledge with their peers. These findings confirm the challenge/opportunity stressor theory regarding perceptions of organizational politics and suggest that whether politics is viewed as positive or negative depends on the employees’ point of view. For those who are engaged and more actively involved in their jobs, politics can be regarded as a challenge and even an opportunity for obtaining more resources to improve their performance. Implications for the development of theory and practice in this area are discussed.
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