Leadership style, organizational politics, and employees’ performance An empirical examination of two competing models
Division of Public Administration and Policy, School of Political Sciences, University of Haifa, Haifa, Isreal Abstract
Purpose – This study aims to examine perceptions of politics among public sector employees as a possible mediator between the supervisor’s leadership style and formal and informal aspects of employees’ performance (Organizational Citizenship Behavior – OCB). Design/methodology/approach – The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) was distributed to employees of a public security organization in Israel (N ¼ 201), asking them to evaluate their supervisor’s style of leadership. Employees were also asked to report their perceptions of organizational politics using the scale developed by Kacmar and Ferris. In addition, supervisors provided objective evaluations of the levels of their employees’ in-role performance and OCB. The intra-structure of the leadership variable was examined by exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and conﬁrmatory factor analysis (CFA) with structural equation modeling. Two alternative models were examined: ﬁrst, a model of mediation and second, a direct model with no mediation. Findings – The research resulted in mixed ﬁndings that only partially support the mediating effect of organizational politics on the relationship between leadership, in-role performance and OCB. A direct relationship between leadership and performance (in-role and OCB) was also found. Research limitations/implications – The differences between the models do not allow clear answers as to the mediating or direct effect of organizational politics in the relationship between leadership and performance. The implications on causality are also limited. Practical implications – Managers should recognize the advantages and disadvantages of different leadership styles as these may affect organizational politics and eventually, formal performance and organizational citizenship behaviors. Originality/value – The ﬁndings of this paper contribute to the understanding of the relationships between leadership, performance, and politics in the workplace and in the public sector in particular. Keywords Leadership, Organizational politics, Performance management, Employee behaviour, Organizational behaviour, Public sector organizations, Israel Paper type Research paper
Received July 2005 Revised January 2006 Accepted March 2006
Introduction Leadership is considered a factor that has a major inﬂuence on the performance of organizations, managers and employees (Wang et al., 2005). Early theories tried to The author wishes to thank Yinnon Dryzin-Amit for his help in conducting this study. The author would also like to thank the referees and the Editor of Personnel Review for their support and good comments. Personnel Review Vol. 36 No. 5, 2007 pp. 661-683 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0048-3486 DOI 10.1108/00483480710773981
deﬁne effective leadership styles (democratic or autocratic, socially oriented or target oriented etc.) and to relate them with various aspects of organizational outcomes (e.g. Blake and Mouton, 1964; Lewin et al., 1939). More recently, researchers have focused mainly on the subordinates’ perspective and proposed two main facets of leadership: transactional and transformational (e.g. Bass, 1985; Burns, 1978). This theory suggests that transformational leadership, more than transactional leadership, has a stronger positive effect on employees’ attitudes towards their job, their job environment, and ultimately affects their work performance. From a different approach, a variety of studies have recently pointed to organizational politics as an important antecedent of employees’ performance, both formal and informal...