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Sarah E. Hill, Amanda L.E. Thomas and John P. Meriac

Despite an extensive amount of research on organizational politics, the relationship between two key forms of politics, namely political behaviors and politics perceptions, remains unclear. The relationship between these forms of politics has often been assumed (e.g. Ferris et al., 2000), resulting in a primary focus on perceptions of politics in theoretical discussions and empirical research. Definitions of organizational politics and political behavior have not maintained the focus and consensus needed to adequately understand the assumed linkage of behaviors and perceptions. This chapter presents a review of definitions of organizational politics, and results from an empirical study using an experimental method to test the relationship between political behaviors and politics perceptions. Relationships among political behavior, job satisfaction and intentions to turnover are also examined, as well as the mediating role of politics perceptions. Based on findings from the experimental results and the politics literature, this chapter offers directions for future research to pursue an integrated views of organizational politics, acknowledging the distinction between the political behavior one enacts versus that which one witnesses in others. Essential to this goal is clarifying the definition of political behavior and addressing any conceptual differences based on foci or level.