John N. Harris, Liam P. Maher and Gerald R. Ferris
Although political skill and political will have been conceptualized as important predictors of performance and effectiveness in organizations for over three decades, virtually no research has investigated the respective roles played by these two constructs in explaining behavior in organizations. Because political skill and political will are believed to be inextricably intertwined, these two constructs should interact to explain organizational outcomes (e.g. job performance) better than either construct individually. However, the interaction effect may be more complex than we might initially believe to be the case. This chapter proposes a theoretical model and testable propositions regarding the roles played by political skill and political will, arguing for a moderated nonlinear relationship of political skill and will on job performance prediction. Additionally, in the future research directions section, we discuss how political skill, political will and political behavior work together to influence important work outcomes in organizations. Implications for theory and research and directions for future research are discussed.
B. Parker Ellen, Gerald R. Ferris and M. Ronald Buckley
Given that organizations have been classified as political arenas, and that political will and skill are necessary for managerial success, leaders often must behave politically in order to succeed within organizational environments. However, despite a growing body of work on leader political skill, relatively little research has addressed the actual political behavior of leaders. Explanations for this gap in the leadership and organizational politics literatures have focused on the apparent paradox between the other-centered concept of leadership and the self-interested nature of political behavior. Recently, leader political support, which captures leaders’ political behavior on behalf of others (i.e. their followers), has been introduced in effort to address this gap. In this chapter, we extend conceptual thinking on leader political support, and argue that it can be considered a form of prosocial leader behavior. Following a brief overview of the construct, and an explanation of the characteristics that link it to forms of prosocial behavior, we use existing research on prosocial motivation to explore the possible motives for leaders’ political behavior in support of followers before offering some potential avenues for future inquiry. We hope this broadened perspective on leaders’ political behavior will inspire additional future research on leader political support.