The cross-level effect of team political climate: A paradigm of need satisfaction

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    The detrimental effects of organizational politics have been well documented. In our paper “Perceptions of organizational politics: A need satisfaction paradigm” published in Organizational Science 2014, a needs-based paradigm was identified to explain the negative effects of perceived organizational politics. In particular, comparing and contrasting the two predominant theoretical perspectives (i.e., the stressor and social exchange relationship paradigms) that have emerged to explain the destructive effects of organizational politics on employee outcomes, we found that they share a common basis – both are associated with satisfaction (or thwarting) of basic psychological needs at work. Across four independent empirical studies, we found evidence that the needs- based paradigm better accounted for the effects of organizational politics on employee work behavior over the stressor and exchange relationship paradigms. Our paper thus provided a unifying theoretical framework, one with considerable breadth and predictive power, to explain the effects of workplace politics on employee outcomes.

    In the current study, we extend the need satisfaction paradigm to explain a neglected phenomenon in this literature - the cross-level effects of organizational politics as a group-level phenomenon. At the team level, we propose that (a) political climate hinders performance through deterring team behavioral integration and (b) supervisor empowering leadership mitigates the negative effects of team political climate on team behavioral integration. At the individual level, we propose that (a) team political climate triggers individual team member’s counterproductive work behavior through diminishing his/her organizational identification and (b) supervisor empowering leadership serves as an antidote to reduce the negative effect of team political climate on member organizational identification. The underlying rationale is that team political climate interferes with the satisfaction of the three basic needs proposed by the need satisfaction paradigm (i.e., need for relatedness, competence and autonomy) and supervisor empowering leadership mitigates this negative effect because it alleviates the dissatisfaction of these three needs. This represents the first attempt examine the effect of team political climate on both team- and individual-level outcomes and processes, though prior research suggests that such research is necessary to fully comprehend the effects of workplace politics on employee and organizational outcomes. We plan to test our model with a multisource and longitudinal research design across multiple samples in different cultures. In sum, this study will contribute to the organizational politics literature by developing theory and utilizing a rigorous, multi-study research design to develop insight into effects of workplace politics as a group-level phenomenon.
    Effective start/end date1/09/1731/08/20


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