Political skill as an indicator of promotability among multiple rater sources

Authors

  • William A. Gentry,

    Corresponding author
    1. Research, Innovation, and Product Development, Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.A.
    • Research, Innovation, and Product Development, Center for Creative Leadership, One Leadership Place, Post Office Box 26300, Greensboro, NC 27438-6300, U.S.A.
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  • David C. Gilmore,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A.
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  • Marissa L. Shuffler,

    1. University of Central Florida & ICF International, Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.A.
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  • Jean Brittain Leslie

    1. Research, Innovation, and Product Development, Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.A.
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  • Portions of this paper are based on a poster presented at the 2008 Society of Industrial Organizational Psychology Conference, San Francisco, California.

Summary

Recognizing that organizations are inherently political arenas, investigating the relationship between political skill and various individual and organizational outcomes is increasing in the literature because employees need political skill in order to work effectively in such environments. Previous research, however, has not examined whether political skill is an indicator of promotability among different rater sources (i.e., bosses, direct reports, and peers). This study attempted to fill such gaps in previous research by examining whether the magnitude of the relationship between political skill and promotability differed depending upon which rater source was evaluating promotability. Using data from 262 practicing target-managers from around the world, the authors found that target-managers with more political skill had higher promotability ratings from three different coworker perspectives and the magnitude of the relationship was different for bosses and peers vis-à-vis direct reports. Furthermore, peer ratings of task-related leader behavior mediated the relationship between political skill and boss ratings of promotability. Contributions of this study are discussed, as are limitations, future research directions, and practical implications. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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