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A Review of Political Skill: Current Research Trend and Directions for Future Research



This paper reviews theoretical and empirical research on the use of political skill in organizations and proposes some agendas for future research. Although political skill is a relatively new construct in organizational politics research, a large number of theoretical and empirical studies have been conducted. Five major themes were identified in previous research. These are: (a) definition and measurement of political skill; (b) political skill and stress management; (c) political skill and career success; (d) political skill and individual performance; and (e) political skill and leadership effectiveness. This review critically examines previous empirical studies in light of this theoretical background and points out that, although previous empirical studies support the theoretically assumed effects of political skills, they fail to confirm how and why these skills bring about these effects. Based on this examination, the author suggests the examination of mediators and dimensional differences derived from theory that can lead to more effective exploration of the impact of political skill. In addition, several issues for future research are proposed, which may provide useful insights for both literature and practice.