Antecedents and Consequences of Organizational Politics A Study of the Public Sector Organizations of Pakistan.


Organizational politics is a common and pervasive phenomenon of occupational life. This is the reason that various approaches have been used to understand and analyze the nature of organizational politics. Literature shows a main stream of researches conducted to examine the political behavior tendency and political skill capitalization among individuals. However, employees usually feel reluctant to report the political activities and tactics exercised for their personal benefits. Therefore, most of the contemporary researches are more focused on analyzing the perception of politics among employees which gives a clear picture of the prevalence of organizational politics. This study was an attempt to examine the perception of politics and its possible causes and effects. It endeavored to identify the reactions regarding organizational politics based on the Hirchsman’s theory of organizational decline also known as Exit, Voice, Loyalty, Neglect (EVLN) Model of Hirchsman’s (1970). The consequences were taped in terms of the intensity of the reactions such as they might start developing turnover intentions (exit), involve in counterproductive behavior (neglect), blow whistle (voice), or show affective commitment (loyalty) with the organization. All these reactions were triggered from extreme to lenient. Variables which have been repeatedly found key predictors to organizational politics in the literature, were selected as antecedents. In this way, participation in decision making, role stressors and machiavellianism were assumed to have influential effects on perceived politics. Perception of politics was also examined to have any mediating role between selected explanatory (participation in decision making, role conflict, role ambiguity and machiavellianism) and criterion variables (affective commitment, counterproductive behavior and turnover intentions).

For data collection, questionnaire survey was carried out based on statistically reliable measures adopted from various sources. Only public sector organizations operating within the vicinity of federal territory of Pakistan were approached. Out of 600 floated questionnaires, 424 usable responses of employees working at various levels in different capacities were received.

Results showed significant effects of both role stressors i.e. role conflict and role ambiguity as well as of machiavellianism towards perceived politics. Participation in decision making showed although negative but insignificant effects towards organizational politics.

Turnover intentions emerged as the strong and statistically significant outcome of flourishing politics followed by affective commitment which had inverse and highly significant relationship with perception of politics. Counterproductive behavior appeared as the third critical upshot of politicized environment. Last of all the results revealed the role of whistle blowing which also had positive and significant relationship with the perception of politics.

Mediating of perception of politics was also confirmed between participation in decision making and affective commitment, participation in decision making and turnover intentions, role conflict and turnover intentions, role conflict and counterproductive behavior, role ambiguity and counterproductive behavior as well as between machiavellianism and counterproductive behavior. Furthermore, partial mediation was found between machiavellianism and turnover intentions.

This study provides valuable contribution due to various reasons. Literature shows a dominant contribution of researches and theories from western cultures which are characterized as more individualistic society in nature as compared to eastern culture. Hofstede (1980 & 1993) emphasized the contextual nature of theories to be generalized in different organizations and institutes therefore, this study was an attempt in this regard to know the causes and consequences of the perception of politics from a developing country which is more a collectivist society as specified by Hofstede’s dimensional scale. This study also incorporated role conflict and whistle blowing as antecedent and consequence of perceived politics which have rarely been used in any setting.

Download Full Paper