Political skill as a moderator of the relationship between subordinate perceptions of interactional justice and supervisor ratings of interpersonal facilitation

Treadway, Darren C.
Witt, L. A.
Stoner, Jason
Perry, Sara J.
Shaughnessy, Brooke A.
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Emerald Insight

Purpose: Based on social exchange theory and the norm of reciprocity, interactional justice has been proposed to be an important construct in explaining individual performance. However, meta-analytic results have noted the relationship is modest at best. The present study extends the understanding of the justice-performance relationship by empirically examining how interactional justice and political skill interactively influence contextual job performance. Focusing on interpersonal aspects of justice and performance, the paper proposes that the existence of interactional justice will only lead to improvements in interpersonally facilitative behavior if employees recognize this situation as an opportunity to invest their skill-related assets into the organization. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach: Integrating research on political skill with social exchange theory, the current study contends that interactional justice stemming from the supervisor will likely lead to employees feeling obligated and/or wanting to help, cooperate, and consider others in the workplace. However, only employees with political skill will be able to recognize the conditions and act appropriately on these conditions. As such, this paper investigates the moderating role of political skill in the interactional justice-performance relationship. The paper used multi-source survey methodology and applied hierarchical moderated multiple regression analysis to test the hypotheses. Findings: Results from 189 respondents indicated that interactional justice was more strongly related to supervisor-rated interpersonal facilitation when employees possessed higher levels of political skill. This suggests that when both interactional justice and political skill are high, the potential for interpersonal facilitation is also high. Conversely, when one or both are low, interpersonal facilitation is less likely. Originality/value: Previous articulations and evaluations of the relationship between interactional justice, political skill, and interpersonal facilitation have omitted either situational determinants of motivation or individual differences in job-related skills. With the current study, the paper sought to address these omissions by exploring the interactive effects of interactional justice and political skill on interpersonal facilitation.

Treadway, D. C., Witt, L. A., Stoner, J., Perry, S. J., & Shaughnessy, B. A. (2013). Political skill as a moderator of the relationship between subordinate perceptions of interactional justice and supervisor ratings of interpersonal facilitation. American Journal of Business, 28(2), 233-251. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJB-08-2013-0058