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Organizational Politics and Job Performance: The Moderating Effect of Social Capital

Eran Vigoda-Gadot Division of Public Administration & Policy, School of Political Sciences, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel 31905 Haifa, Israel. Tel: 972-4-8240709; Fax: 972-4-8257785; [email protected]

Ilan Talmud Department of Sociology University of Haifa, [email protected]

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2 Organizational Politics and Job Performance: The Moderating Effect of Social Capital

Abstract In this paper we propose a model that examines the moderating effect of social capital (i.e., trust, and social support and reciprocity) on job performance. The model was empirically tested based on data collected among 142 academics in one of Israel's major research universities. Findings based on interaction effect analysis support the hypothesis that social support is a good moderator of the relationship between POPs and performance. In other words, the potentially negative aftermaths of POPs can be controlled and reduced when trust and social support dominate the intra-organizational climate. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings, as well as recommendations for future studies, are suggested.

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Organizational Politics and Job Performance: The Moderating Effect of Social Capital

Introduction In recent years, perceptions of organizational politics (POPs) have been studied extensively and have emerged as a good predictor of job performance (i.e., Drory, 1993; Ferris & Kacmar, 1992; Kacmar et al., 1999; Valle & Perrewe, 2000; Vigoda-Gadot, 2003; Vigoda-Gadot & Drory, 2006). Of particular interest is the negative effect that perceptions of politics seem to have on job attitudes (i.e., job satisfaction, organizational commitment) and on affective performance (i.e., job stress, job burnout) as well as the indirect relationships that potentially mediate or moderate these relationships. The major goal of this paper is to extend our knowledge about the possible indirect effects of POPs on various aspects of job performance (attitudinal and affective) by integrating the idea of social capital into the existing discourse. Based on the centrality of the social environment and social capital in workplace studies (i.e., Coleman, 1988, 1994; Dore, 1983; Jones, Hesterly & Borgatti, 1997; Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998; Podolny, 1994; Podolny & Castelucci, 2000; Sorenson, 2000), We develop arguments regarding the role of mutual trust, and social support and reciprocity on job performance, and more specifically, on their potential effect on the POPs performance relationship.

Our theoretical development builds on two conceptual tracks and fields of knowledge: sociology and network analysis (i.e. House, 1981; Nyahn & Marlowe, 1997; Pierce & Sarason, 1990), and management and administration sciences (i.e., Buchanan, 2007; Ferris & Kacmar, 1992; Vigoda-Gadot & Kapoon, 2005). Hence, our secondary goal is to promote an interdisciplinary analysis of the aftermaths of workplace politics from the less conventional perspective of social networks. This approach may prove beneficial for both areas, and may significantly improve our understanding of the consequences of organizational politics, especially in the face of the social complexity that is so typical in modern public and private organizations.

4 Theory and Hypotheses Organizational Politics Organizational politics is an elusive type of power relations in the workplace. It represents a unique domain of interpersonal relations, characterized by the direct or indirect (active or passive) engagement of people in influence tactics and power struggles. These activities are frequently aimed at securing or maximizing personal interests or, alternatively, avoiding negative outcomes within the organization (Kacmar & Ferris, 1991). However, they may also be targeted at securing or maximizing collective interests (team, group, organizational, or social) in cases where several decisions are possible that affect different interests. The number of studies on organizational politics has increased rapidly in recent decades. Vigoda-Gadot and Drory (2006) suggest that the issue is of prime importance to any type of organization, in any field, market, sector, and culture. It has been studied from various perspectives, largely from a behaviorist point of view (i.e., Kipnis et al., 1980) or a cognitive one (i.e., Ferris & Kacmar, 1992). While many

theoretical and empirical investigations have been undertaken (i.e., Cropanzano et al., 1997; Kacmar & Ferris, 1991; Kipnis et al., 1980; Mayes & Allen, 1977), even today However, while there is no doubt that internal politics (actual or cognitive) is a common phenomenon in every organization, too little is known about the exact nature, boundaries, evolvement, interpretation, and aftermaths of such politics. even today. Thus, many studies and approaches were suggested throughout the years for its theoretical exploration and empirical investigation (i.e., Cropanzano et al., 1997; Kacmar & Ferris, 1991; Kipnis et al., 1980; Mayes & Allen, 1977). One of the more common lines in this context is that Typically, scholars have mostly focused on the negative aspects prospect of organizational politics, seeing it as representative of It was mainly represented as the dark side of human conduct. Organizational politics has been considered almost synonymous with and an analogy was done between politics and manipulation, coercive influence tactics, and other subversive and semi-legal actions (i.e., Ferris & King, 1991; Mintzberg, 1983; 1985). This depiction

5 analogy led to the assumption that organizational politics contradicts the common good s of the organization and may damage performance at any level (individual, team, unit, or system). During the 1990s and on into the 2000s, the interest in organizational politics took a more cognitive direction. A growing number of empirical studies focused on what people think about political maneuvers in modern worksites, assuming that the reality of politics is better understood via the perceptions of individuals instead of actual influence tactics. As was suggested by Kacmar and Ferris (1991:193­4) and Kacmar and Carlson (1994:3), perceptions of organizational politics represent the degree to which respondents view their work environment as political in nature, promoting the self-interests of others, and thereby unjust and unfair from the individual's point of view. These studies proposed a scale for the measurement of political perceptions called the `Perceptions of Organizational Politics Scale' (POPS). Currently, the cognitive perspective is the dominant approach in the study of organizational politics and has led to an increase in the number of empirical studies on the effect of organizational politics on employees' attitudes behavior and especially performance in the workplace. The relationship between organizational politics and organizational performance and outcomes is important because it has both theoretical and practical implications. It can potentially help us better understand the meaning of organizational conflict, power, and influence tactics and posit hypotheses regarding their meaning for micro- and macro-level organizational outcomes. Furthermore, it can point to practical tools for handling workplace politics and minimizing its negative effect on members, teams, and the organization as a whole. Organizational Politics and Job Performance Power, influence and politics have at least some effect on every member of an organization and thus on the entire organizational unit. Based on the equity theory (Adams, 1965) and on the idea of social exchange and social reciprocity (Blau, 1964), the motivation to perform better and the development of positive employee attitudes and behaviors depend on the display of similar positive attitudes and behaviors by other

6 members of the organization (peers, supervisors, the management and the organization as a whole). Therefore, many scholars have argued that the relationship between organizational politics and organizational outcomes is an important one that deserves careful and thorough investigation (Ferris & Kacmar, 1992; Kacmar & Carlson, 1994; Zhou & Ferris, 1995) and one that has the potential to enhance our understanding of multiple aspects of performance. From different angles, several studies have tested POPs in relation to a handful of performance-oriented variables (Vigoda & Drory, 2006). From these studies, empirical evidence has accumulated mainly considerating the negative effect of organizational politics on job satisfaction (i.e., Ferris et al., 1996; Zhou & Ferris, 1995), organizational commitment (i.e., Randall et al., 1999; Vigoda, 2000), job stress and strain and job burnout (Kacmar et al., 1999; Valle & Perrewe, 2000; Vigoda, 2002). Nonetheless, most studies have examined the possibility of a direct relationship between POPs and performance, but only a few of them have considered the indirect (moderated or mediated) effects. Those few studies that have tested indirect POPs-performance relationships have yielded encouraging findings. For example, Zivnuska et al. (2004) found that "the interaction of organizational politics and impression management explained a significant incremental amount of variance in supervisor ratings of employee performance" (p.627). More recently, Harris, Andrew, and Kacmar (2007) found that distributive and procedural justice moderates the POPs-performance relationship. The negative effect of POPs on job satisfaction and the positive effect of POPs on turnover intentions are weaker when both forms of justice are high. The findings of these researchers followed an early study of Byrne (2005) who suggested fairness as a good moderator of several relationships: POPsturnover intentions, POPs-formal performance, and POPs-Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB). Generally speaking, perceiving the organizational environment as fair reduced the negative covert effect of POPs on job performance. Finally, Poon (2004, 2006) examined two moderating models and found several meaningful indirect effects. First, intentions to quit and job stress resulting from POPs were higher among employees

7 who felt they had little control compared to those who felt they had a high level of control. Second, it was found that POPs mediated the relationship between trust in supervisors and helping co-workers. Trust leads to helping behavior in situations were POPs is low but has no effect on helping behavior when POPs is high. It is interesting to note that a majority of the above studies referred to socialcontext variables (i.e., impression management, fairness, justice, and trust) as meaningful in the POPs-performance relationship. Hence, in light of these studies, and based on the growing centrality of social constructs in modern organizations, we believe that another moderating relationship of the POPs-performance relationship may exist: the moderating effect of social capital and social networks. Social Capital and its Moderating Effect on the POPs-performance relationship Corporate social capital is any element of the corporate social structure, bringing about positive outcomes (Coleman, 1988; 1994). It includes any means of corporate control embedded in social relations, thus assisting an organization in promoting internal assets and resources. Excess profit or economic rent, which is an outcome of the operation of corporate social capital, is defined as "any advantage or surplus created by nature or social structure over a certain period of time" (Sorenson, 1996: 1344). Corporate advantage may be explained then by the differential capacity of organizations to create, promote and take advantage of corporate social capital (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998; Sorenson, 2000). Recent literature on organizational social capital and competitive advantage has stressed the role of weak ties and sparse social networks in determining organizational performance (Burt, 1992). Burt (1983; 1992) and Talmud (1992; 1994) found that organizations using "structural holes," spreading their ties with unconnected market segments are more profitable than those connecting to "redundant market areas." In contrast, other studies on organizational social capital have found that strong ties and dense networks have a significant impact on the creation of opportunities. New and sensitive business information and opportunities are enhanced through cohesive contacts

8 (Aldrich & Zimmer, 1986; Gilad, Kaish, & Ronen, 1989). Moreover, Krackhardt (1992), Podolny (1994) and Gabbay (1997) showed the importance of enclosed intra-organization and extra-organization networks for managing organizational uncertainty. It seems, accordingly, that there is no such thing as a universal optimal network structure (dense or sparse); as Coleman phrased it, "social relationships that constitute social capital for one kind of productive activity may be impediments for another" (Coleman, 1994: 177). Furthermore, the effect of strong ties seems to be a conditional one. Burt (1992) and Han (1993) [Date in references is 1992] revealed that, contrary to the logic behind the theories of resource dependence and structural holes, those American organizations, that heavily depending on the government, survive at higher rates. Additionally, Israeli

organizations that are "locked in" through political connections are more profitable (Talmud, 1992; 2007), and are more stable over time (Talmud & Mesch, 1997). In uncertain conditions, or in situations where identity and role expectations are important for performance, embedding economic transactions in strong relations or constructing economic deals in terms of strong ties could serve as a remedy for survival (Dore, 1983; Jones, Hesterly & Borgatti, 1997; Podolny, 1994; Podolny & Castelucci, 2000; Talmud, 2001). _____________________ Insert Figure 1 about here _____________________ From an intra-organizational perspective, it is not clear yet what the role is, if any, of social capital in the POPs-performance relationship. As suggested earlier, a literature review reveals that both politics and social capital have previously demonstrated their independent effect on and contribution to the explanation of job performance. However, a few studies have challenged the nexus between them. For example, Cropanzano, Kacmar, and Bozeman (1995) noted that the social setting of the workplace is meaningful in this context and that social climate and social support may have an effect on job performance stemming from politics. Randall et al. (1999) focused on the relationship

9 between POPs and organizational support in their effect on job attitudes and on formal and informal job performance (OCB). However, none of these studies offered a straightforward social capital-oriented discussion. Our paper tries to do so. As shown in Figure 1, we question the conventional knowledge about a direct POPs-performance relationship, suggesting that social capital moderates it in a unique way. What is the logic behind this hypothesis? Preliminary indications can be found in the positive relationship between social capital and employees' performance (i.e., House, 1981; Leana & Van Buren, 1999; Pierce & Sarason, 1990). A majority of these studies argue that stronger ties, increased social support and reciprocity amongst organizational members and higher levels of mutual trust are good, positive predictors of job satisfaction and organizational commitment. However, none of these studies have made a strong argument for an interactive relationship between social capital and POPs in their effect on job performance. One such possible argument can be found in the theory of fairness, equity, and justice in organizations and its relation with organizational politics (Adams, 1965; Andrews & Kacmar, 2001; Cropanzano, Kacmar, & Bozeman, 1995). In fact, both social capital and POPs lay the groundwork for employees' perceptions of fairness and equity in organizations. The idea that politics and fairness are related has already been noted by Ferris et al. (1989) and used extensively in later studies (Vigoda-Gadot & Drory, 2006). Based on this line of thinking, self-interests and politically-oriented decisions that do not take into consideration a collective goal of the work unit or the organization as a whole tend to be viewed negatively by employees and reflect a greater tendency toward

injustice, inequity, and bias in resource distribution. In addition, studies also indicate that social capital is related to fairness and equity in organizations and in communities (Benabou, 1996; Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998; Walker, Kogut, & Shan, 1997). These cumulative findings are by no means trivial, as there is strong evidence for the power of social capital in reproducing the organizational network over time (Walker, Kogut, & Shan, 1997). Similarly, Cropanzano, Prehar, and Chen (2002) also pointed to the social

10 exchange theory as a possible explanation for justice and fairness in organizations, thereby indicating the usefulness of social exchange variables (trust, social support, social reciprocity, and helping behavior) in understanding workplace politics. Hence, it is possible that employees tend to view the work sphere as more fair and just in cases where social ties can support their interests and ambitions. Individuals with accumulated social capital may feel confident that they have a shield against the tyranny or domination of influential others who may be involved in power games and in organizational politics. We therefore argue that employees' sense of fairness and equity may be derived from social capital and also lead to changes in job performance. As Figure 1 suggests, another argument for the potential moderating effect may be the cognitive theory of building reality in the eyes of organizational members (Lewin, 1936). Social capital is largely a result of employees' social contacts with peers and coworkers. Moreover, it reflects the investment of the energy and the resources of the employee in creating social contacts and building networks. Similarly, POPS reflects a perceptual dimension of the quality of the work environment, some of which is determined by social capital and by robust social safety nets. This perception may be dependent on the social assets that one accumulates in the workplace over time, and on the general understanding of and the positive match between individuals and organizations (i.e., individual-organizational fit or person-organization fit; see Bretz & Judge, 1994). Thus, the resulting job performance may be only one subsequent outcome of such perceptions that have been previously altered and shaped by the social capital of the individual. Finally, social capital may be regarded as a valuable asset and a useful resource for individuals. Those employees with stronger and more heterogeneous social ties are more likely to learn about new opportunities for advancement, promotion, and alternatives for self-fulfillment in the workplace. They are better aware of the risks and challenges that the work environment presents and develop strategies for coping and advancing within the organization. In cases where organizational politics dominate organizational life, those employees who have built up high levels of mutual trust, have confidence in others, and

11 have established multiple ties with peers and managers will weather stormy times in the organization more easily. Unlike employees with little social capital, they may feel that the organization offers them fair opportunities for advancement, promotion, or other benefits. Therefore, their perceptions about the fairness and equity of the environment are expected to be more positive than those of individuals who lack such solid social networks. Indeed, those with lower stock of social capital may react more negatively to high levels of organization politics than those employees who are "protected" (physically, cognitively, and emotionally) by strong social capital. Therefore, we suggest three major hypotheses considering the direct and indirect role of social capital in the POPs-performance relationship. H1: Perceptions of organizational politics (POPs) are negatively related with job satisfaction and organizational commitment, and positively related with job stress and job burnout. H2: Social capital (i.e., trust in fellow workers and social support and reciprocity) is positively related with job performance and negatively related with POPs. H3: Social capital (i.e., trust in fellow workers and social support and reciprocity) moderates the relationship between POPs and job performance. Method Sample and Procedure A survey method was used to collect data in a large public university located in the north of Israel. Between May and August 2006, The survey was administered among all faculty members throughout the university's various departments and schools (we excluded adjunct faculty members and those who were away on a sabbatical or on leave during the time of the survey). To increase the response rate we made an effort to use a direct distribution and return method, but in several cases we also used the internal university mail system to distribute and collect data, in cases where individuals were interested in fuller anonymity. In the final analysis 142 usable questionnaires were used, from total 355 which were distributed (a return rate of 40%). Of the respondents, 64.9%

12 were men, the average age was 51.55 (s.d.=9.0), 89.1% were married, average tenure at the university was 162 months, and 95.5% of the respondents were Jews. A breakdown by rank shows that 21.8% held the rank of lecturers (without tenure), 30.8% were senior lecturers, 23.3% were associate professors, and 24.1% were full professors. Measures Perceptions of Organizational Politics (POPS): This variable was defined by Ferris et al. (1989) as the degree to which respondents view their work environment as political, and therefore unjust and unfair. Kacmar and Ferris (1991) suggested the first version of this scale with 40 items, which was re-examined by Kacmar and Carlson (1994) who proposed a more parsimonious 12-item scale. This scale has become the most accepted measure of POPS in the literature. We adjusted this scale slightly to fit with the organizational environment of a public university. The scale ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree), and the reliability was 0.89. Full details about the items that were used are included in Table 1. Social Capital Organizational social capital was defined by Leana and Van Buren (1999: 538) as a resource reflecting the character of social relations within the firm. They suggest that "organizational social capital is realized through members' levels of collective goal orientation and shared trust, which create value by facilitating successful collective action. Organizational social capital is an asset that can benefit both the organization (e.g., creating value for shareholders) and its members (e.g., enhancing employee skills)." Our study thus treated organizational social capital as a two-facet variable built on trust, and on social support and reciprocity. Trust (TRS): Based on Cumming and Bromily's (1996) Organizational Trust Inventory (OTI), we defined trust as comprised of proper conduct, honesty, benevolence, goodwill and integrity in negotiation, even in front of vulnerability (Nyahn and Marlowe (1997) reports on the development of a 12-item scale to measure this variable that represents an individual's level of trust in his or her supervisor and in his or her work

13 organization as a whole. The scale was tested in seven different organizations, with a total sample size of 779 individuals. Measures of reliability, validity, and factor analyses were presented to demonstrate that the instrument is psychometrically adequate and stable. A 9-item scale was used based on this study. Sample items are (1) "I think that university professors tell the truth in formal meetings;" (2) "In my view, the university management is trustworthy and fulfils its duty towards the academic staff and is trustworthy;" (3) "You can trust the professors in this university;" (4) "I feel that the professors in this university tell the truth to each other." The scale ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree), and the reliability was 0.91. Social Support and Reciprocity (SS): Pierce, Sarason and Sarason (1990) defined social support as "interpersonal transaction, perceived as or intended to ease coping with everyday life, especially under stressful situations." House (1981) identified four types of social support: socio-emotional support, cognitive support, appraisal support and tangible/instrumental support. A 4-item scale was used, in accordance with these four types: (1) socio-emotional, (2) cognitive-informative, (3) appraisal, and (4) tangible/ instrumental. The scale ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree), and the reliability was 0.69. Job Performance Job Satisfaction (JS): We relied on a measure that was developed by Schriesheim and Tsui (1980). Respondents were asked to indicate how satisfied they were with five aspects of their job: current job, co-workers, current salary, opportunities for promotion, and work in general. We omitted a sixth item about satisfaction with supervisors that was originally included in the Schriesheim and Tsui (1980) scale due to its lack of relevance for university professors. The scale for these questions ranged from 1 (very unsatisfied) to 7 (very satisfied), and the reliability was 0.81. Organizational Commitment (OC): This variable was measured by the most commonly used measure of organizational commitment, the attitudinal Organizational Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ) introduced by Porter and Smith (1970). The scale,

14 also known as the Porter et al. measure (1974), is the most viable measure of affective commitment and has enjoyed widespread acceptance and use. In its shortened 9-item version, the measure reflects the three dimensions of the definition of commitment suggested by Porter et al.: (1) desire to retain membership in the organization; (2) belief in and acceptance of the values and goals of the organization; and (3) willingness to exert effort on behalf of the organization. Sample items for this measure include: (1) "I am proud to tell others that I am part of this organization;" (2) "I really care about the fate of this organization;" (3) "I would accept almost any type of job assignment in order to keep working for the organization;" and (4) "For me, this is the best of all possible organizations to work for." The scale ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree), and the reliability was 0.87. Job Stress (STR): House and Rizzo (1972) constructed a scale, measuring "the existence of tensions and pressures growing out of job requirements, including the possible outcomes in terms of feelings or physical symptoms" (p.481). The original scale was 17 items and referred to three types of tension-stress factors: job-induced tension (JIT), somatic tension (ST), and general fatigue and uneasiness (GFU). For reasons of parsimony we used only four items, which, however, were representative of the three factors: (1) "I work under a great deal of tension" (JIT); (2) "If I had a different job, my health would probably improve" (JIT); (3) "I get irritated or annoyed over the way things are going here" (ST); and, (4) "I seem to tire quickly" (GFU). Respondents were asked to report the degree to which they agreed with the items on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). A higher score meant a higher level of job stress and strain. Reliability was .75. Job Burnout (BU): Burnout was measured by a 6-item scale taken from the Maslach Burnout Inventory - MBI (Maslach & Jackson, 1986). Items were: (1) "I feel emotionally drained by my work;" (2) "I feel used up at the end of the workday;" (3) "Working with people all day is really a strain for me;" (4) "I feel burned out by my work;" (5) "I feel I'm working too hard on my job;" and (6) "I feel like I'm at the end of my rope."

15 Respondents were asked to report the degree to which they agreed with the items on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree), and a higher score reflected a higher level of burnout. Reliability of the scale was .88. Data analysis Moderated hierarchical regression analysis, with interaction effects, was used to examine the direct and indirect relationships between the independent variables and job performance. In accordance with conventional requests for interaction tests, all relevant variables were centered. Interaction plots are offered to better explain the nature of the moderating effects. Findings _____________________ Insert Table 1 about here _____________________ Table 1 provides descriptive statistics and inter-correlations for the sample. As shown, the psychometric properties of the research variables are reasonable. All variables have fairly normal distributions and acceptable Cronbach's alpha ratios (.69-.91). In addition, most of the inter-correlations hold in the expected directions. POPs is negatively related to social capital (r=-.73; p<.001 with trust in fellow workers and r=-.49; p<.001 with social support and reciprocity) and to job performance (r=-.55; p<.001 and r=-.51; p<.001 with organizational commitment and job satisfaction, respectively: r=.30; p<.001 and r=.24; p<.01 with job stress and job burnout, respectively). In addition, job performance is positively related with social capital and negatively related with POPs. These findings provide general support for hypotheses H1 and H2. Finally, the inter-correlation of trust in fellow workers, and social support and reciprocity is .60 (p<.001), which attests to the lack of multicolinearity. ________________________ Insert Tables 2 & 3 about here ________________________

16 Tables 2 and 3 summarize the findings of two moderated hierarchical regression analyses where four dimensions of job performance were separately regressed on the independent variables and on each of the moderating variables (Table 2 for trust in fellow workers and Table 3 for social support and reciprocity). We separated the analysis for each of the moderating variables and for its interaction with POPs to further ensure a lack of multicolinearity. As shown in Table 2, POPs has a negative main effect on job satisfaction and on organizational commitment (=-.24; p<.05 and =-.22; p<.05, respectively). Another main effect is the positive relationship of trust with job satisfaction and with organizational commitment (=.40; p<.001 and =.44; p<.05, respectively). However, this relationship diminishes after the third step of the equation with the addition of the interaction effect. Generally speaking, these findings quite strongly support H1 for POPs, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment but not for the stress-related variables. To a lesser extent, they also support, the main effect suggested in H2 where trust is expected to have a positive relationship with the dependent variables (mainly job satisfaction and organizational commitment). In addition, the most prominent finding in this equation is the consistent and significant side effect of trust on the relationship between POPs and each of the performance indicators. The interaction effects were as follows: =.45; p<.01 for job satisfaction; =.57; p<.001 for organizational commitment; =-.49; p<.01 for job stress; and =-.44; p<.01 for job burnout. The added explained variance for the interaction effects ranged between 6%-7% for job satisfaction, job stress, and job burnout to 10% for organizational commitment. These findings strongly support H3 for the variable trust in fellow workers. According to Table 3, POPs has a negative main effect on job satisfaction (=-.39; p<.01) but not on any of the other dependent variables. This finding is in line with H1 for these variables. Another main effect is the positive relationship of social support and reciprocity with job satisfaction and with organizational commitment (=.47; p<.001 and =.39; p<.001, respectively). These findings are consistent with H2 for these variables.

17 However, this relationship diminishes after the third step of the equation with the addition of the interaction effect. Thus, we conclude that there is only partial and limited support for H2. As with the analyses of the previous regression equation, the most prominent finding in the current equation is the consistent and significant side effect of social support and reciprocity on the relationship between POPs and each of the performance indicators. The interaction effects were as follows: =.55; p<.01 for job satisfaction; =.36; p<.05 for organizational commitment; =-.66; p<.001 for job stress; and =-.47; p<.05 for job burnout. The added explained variance for the interaction effects ranged between 3%-5% for organizational commitment and job burnout, and 7%-11% for job satisfaction and job stress. These findings strongly support H3 for the variable social support and reciprocity. ________________________ Insert Figures 1-8 about here ________________________ Finally, Figures 1-8 present the plots of the interaction effects. According to these plots, social capital is a good mediator of the POPs-performance relationship. Employees with high levels of trust in their fellow workers and strong social support react more positively to organizational politics in the workplace than those employees who report low levels of trust and weak social support. Thus, the most negative effect of POPs would be on those employees who do not enjoy a broad safety network of social capital and support. Their reactions, in terms of reduced job satisfaction, compromised organizational commitment, and high levels of job stress and burnout will be significantly stronger than others who have accumulated social assets such as trust in their fellow workers, the social support of peers, and cultivated generally healthy, reciprocal relations with others (values, needs, interests, etc.). Discussion and Conclusions Byrne (2005: p.176) argued that because workplace politics are considered necessary for the normal functioning of any organization, "buffering their negative effects becomes critical." The major goal of this study was to address this challenge by testing the

18 moderating effect of social capital on the relationship between organizational politics and job performance. The findings demonstrate quite strongly that this moderation effect is meaningful and that employees with high levels of trust in their fellow workers and social support and reciprocity have better coping mechanisms to deal with the aftermaths of POPs. These findings have theoretical and practical implications that are worthy of further elaboration. From a theoretical point of view, this study makes several contributions. First, it adds to the current knowledge regarding organizational politics and facilitates a more accurate understanding of its effect on job performance. In contrast with most common knowledge in this field, this study supports the notion that perceptions of politics have a more complex relationship with job performance, a relationship that may be different for various types of employees. Not every employee will react to POPs the same way as his/her colleagues, and the "social arsenal" or the "social skills" of the individual are a good buffer against the potentially negative aftermaths of POPs, those that are well documented in previous empirical studies. Our findings are therefore much in line with the relatively underdeveloped canon of studies that emphasize the indirect nature of the POPS-performance relationship (i.e., Byrne, 2005; Harris, Andrew, & Kacmar, 2007; Poon, 2004; 2006; Zivnuska et al., 2004). Second, the centrality of social capital in organizations is reconfirmed and gains additional support, beyond existing studies. Our empirical examination of trust in fellow workers and of social support and reciprocity suggests that these two facets of social capital are essential for building employees' capacities to cope with a political environment. Similarly, theories about social capital highlight its contribution to organizational performance. Yet, unlike most other models (with the exception of Burt, 1997), this paper examines the impact of social capital not as a main effect variable but, rather, as a moderating device, facilitating employees in their struggle with powerful others and within a politically-oriented work environment.

19 A third and final theoretical contribution of this study is the hint it offers about the need for a good fit between the individual and the workplace. According to the theory of person-environment/organization fit (POF; i.e., Bretz & Judge, 1994; Chatman, 1989), the match between an individual and the social environment of his or her workplace has a strong impact on job performance at both the individual and organizational levels. Social capital depends on the employee's capacities (personality, social skills, and motivation to build social networks; see Kalish & Robins, 2006) but it is also a result of the specific organizational environment and the social "others." In other words, the specific willingness and skills of an individual may not be enough to build social capital. These qualities must be matched by the willingness and skills of colleagues, peers, and other organizational members to engage in activities designed to build social capital. Only by creating such a match can an effective network containing the main elements of social capital be built and maintained. Though we have not specifically measured person-environment/organization fit, we strongly believe that our study provides additional support for this theory by demonstrating its potentially moderating effect on the politics-performance relationship. This contribution may also be extended to the general domain of conflict in organizations, by suggesting that the negative effects of conflicts and power struggles in the workplace can be moderated and reduced by strengthening social capital and improving the fit between employees and the organization. There is a tight connection between social capital, intellectual capital, and sustained competitive advantage (Nahapiet and Ghoshal, 1998). Similarly, organizational political comprised the invisible paths and tacit carriers of decision making process and the formation organizational climate. The importance of examining social capital, POPS, and performance cannot be overstated. Analytical examination of the various links between social capital and organizational politics bears relevant and practical implications for the any study of individual and organizational social capital. Understanding the connection between social capital, POP, and performance deem highly pertinent for improving

20 employment practices, human resources management, and the development and transfer of tacit knowledge higher technology firms. As the importance of organizational politics and social capital to organizational processes increases to the extent to which the organizational process or product is intangible (Jones, Hesterly, and Bogartti, (1997), and to the extent to which the organization is embedded in uncertainty technological environment (Darr and Talmud, 2003), this kind of insight is particularly pertinent for those organizations characterized by informal and non-standard practices, knowledge workers, and uncertain technological environment. Several limitations of this study should also be mentioned in order to put our findings in the proper perspective and encourage other solid studies in the field. First, our findings should be tested using other algorithms for moderation in the structural equation modeling device, such as Mplus. Second, this study was performed using a single case study. Further examinations of this moderating link, therefore, should be performed in other organizations and environments. Third, additional components of social capital should be tested against rival theories, especially models of structural holes (e.g. Burt, 1992) and personality attributes such as self monitoring, being deemed highly relevant for individual network position (Kalish & Robins, 2006). Finally, the study suffers from a

single source bias, and future studies should replicate it using additional sources, especially for measuring performance and outcomes at the individual, team, and organizational levels. Nonetheless, despite its limitations, the study adds to our knowledge about both perceptions of politics and social capital in organizations, and about the potential moderating effect that social structures may have on the well being and productivity of employees.

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26 Zivnuska, S., Kacmar, K.M., Witt, L.A., Carlson, D.S., & Bratton, V. (2004). Interactive effects of impression management and organizational politics on job performance. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 25, 627­640.

27 Figure 1: Social capital moderates the relationship between organizational politics and job performance Social Capital

Trust in fellow workers fellows Social support and reciprocity Job Performance Perceptions of Organizational Politics (POPs) Organizational commitment Job satisfaction Job Stress Burnout

28 Table 1: Means, standard deviations, and inter-correlation matrix (reliabilities in parentheses)

Mean 4.02 SD 1.12 1 (.89) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

1.Perceptions of politics (POPs) Social Capital

organizational

2.Trust in fellow workers 3.Social support and reciprocity Job performance 4.Organizational commitment 5.Job satisfaction 6.Job stress 7.Burnout Demographics 8.Gender (Female) 9.Age

4.42 4.74

1.07 1.00

-.73*** -.49***

(.91) .60*** (.69)

4.76 5.02 3.00 3.54

1.07 1.14 1.31 1.49

-.55*** -.51*** .30*** .24**

.58*** .57*** -.34*** -.20*

.61*** .55*** -.23** -.20*

(.87) .73*** -.33*** -.22** (.81) -.39*** -.32*** (.75) .80*** (.88)

.35 51.55

.48 9.04

.05 -.03

.06 -.15

.18* -.24*

.29*** -.02

.20* .09

.10 -.22*

.16 -.20*

-.04

N=139-142; *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001

29 Table 2: Moderated hierarchical regression analysis (standardized coefficients) for the relationship between POPs and job performance with trust as a moderator

Variable Job Satisfaction () Step1 Step 2 Organizational Commitment () Step1 Step 2 Step3 Job Stress () Step1 Step 2 Job Burnout () Step1 Step 2

Step3

Step3

Step3

Demographics: 1. Age 2. Gender Direct effect: 3. POPs 4. Trust (High/Low) Moderation: 5. Trust X POPs R Adj. R2 R2 F for R2 F

2

.10 .13

.18 .16 -.04 .40***

.16 .17 -.24* .08 .45**

-.02 .23*

.07 .27** .05 .44***

.04 .28*** -.22* .03 .57***

-.21* .16

-.25* .14 -.16 -.15

-.22* .13 .07 .20 -.49**

-.20* .18

-.22* .16 -.19 -.06

-.20* .15 .02 .26 -.44**

.03 .00 1.21

.18 .14 .15 8.55*** 4.98***

.24 .20 .06 7.21** 5.70***

.05 .03 2.69

.24 .20 .19 10.94*** 7.10***

.34 .30 .10 13.62*** 9.19***

.07 .05 3.63*

.12 .08 .05 2.29 3.00*

.19 .14 .07 8.08** 4.21**

.07 .06 3.78*

.11 .07 .04 1.93 2.89*

.17 .13 .06 6.53* 3.76**

N=139-142; *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001

30 Table 3: Moderated hierarchical regression analysis (standardized coefficients) for the relationship between POPs and job performance with social support and reciprocity (SSR) as a moderator

Variable

Job Satisfaction () Step1 Step 2

Step3

Organizational Commitment () Step1 Step 2 Step3

Job Stress () Step1 Step 2

Step3

Job Burnout () Step1 Step 2

Step3

Demographics: 1. Age 2. Gender Direct effect: 3. POPs 4. SSR (High/Low) Moderation: 5. SSR X POPs R 2 Adj. R 2 R 2 F for R F

2

.10 .13

.21* .07 -.10 .47***

.18* .13 -.39** .11 .55**

-.03 .23*

.07 .18* -.01 .39***

.05 .22* -.20 .15 .36*

-.21* .16

-.24* .17 -.14 -.14

-.21* .10 .21 .30 -.66***

-.19* .18

-.24* .20 -.16 -.16

-.22* .14 .08 .15 -.47*

.02 .00 -1.18

.23 .20 .21 12.51*** 6.99***

.30 .27 .07 9.67** 8.04***

.05 .03 2.70

.19 .16 .14 7.91*** 5.50***

.22 .18 .03 3.80* 5.29***

.07 .05 3.57*

.11 .07 .04 2.10 2.87*

.22 .18 .11 12.68*** 5.12***

.07 .05 3.71*

.13 .09 .06 2.99* 3.43*

.18 .14 .05 6.15* 4.12**

N=139-142; *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001

31 Figure 1: The moderating effect of trust on the relationship between POPs and job satisfaction

Legend X=Perceptions of organizational politics Y=Job satisfaction =Low Trust =High trust

y=3.851-.38x+.174z+.781xz

32 Figure 2: The moderating effect of trust on the relationship between POPs and organizational commitment

Legend X=Perceptions of organizational politics Y=Organizational Commitment =Low Trust =High Trust

y=4.338-.287x+.052z+.845xz

33 Figure 3: The moderating effect of trust on the relationship between POPs and job stress

Legend X=Perceptions of organizational politics Y=Job Stress =Low Trust =High Trust

y=4.536+.12x+.541z-1.016xz

34 Figure 4: The moderating effect of trust on the relationship between POPs and job burnout

Legend X=Perceptions of organizational politics Y=Job Burnout =Low Trust =High Trust

y=5.08+.041x+.794z-1.073xz

35 Figure 5: The moderating effect of social support and reciprocity on the relationship between POPs and job satisfaction

Legend X=Perceptions of organizational politics Y=Job Satisfaction =Low Social Support & Reciprocity =High Social Support & Reciprocity

y=3.828-.599x+.242z+.868xz

36 Figure 6: The moderating effect of social support and reciprocity on the relationship between POPs and organizational commitment

Legend X=Perceptions of organizational politics Y=Organizational Commitment =Low Social Support & Reciprocity =High Social Support & Reciprocity

y=4.334-.26x+.277z+.482xz

37 Figure 7: The moderating effect of social support and reciprocity on the relationship between POPs and job stress

Legend X=Perceptions of organizational politics Y=Job stress =Low Social Support & Reciprocity =High Social Support & Reciprocity

y=4.241+.387x+.793z-1.254xz

38 Figure 8: The moderating effect of social support and reciprocity on the relationship between POPs and job burnout

Legend X=Perceptions of organizational politics Y=Job Burnout =Low Social Support & Reciprocity =High Social Support & Reciprocity

y=5.296+.179x+.460z-1.038xz

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