Leader political skill and team performance: a moderated mediation model

Jun Liu (School of Business, Renmin University of China, Beijing, People's Republic of China)
Wei Wang (School of Business, Renmin University of China, Beijing, People's Republic of China)
Kun‐peng Cao (School of Business, Renmin University of China, Beijing, People's Republic of China)

Nankai Business Review International

ISSN: 2040-8749

Publication date: 8 March 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on the political theory of leadership and the input‐process‐output model the purpose of this paper is to examine the link between leader political skill and team performance by focusing on the mediating role of team communication and the moderating role of team task interdependence.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors collected three waves of data from 80 teams across four business units and employed hierarchical regression modeling and the moderated path analysis approach suggested by Edwards and Lambert to test the moderated mediation model.

Findings

Leader political skill was found to positively influence team performance via promoting the quality of team communication. Moreover, team task interdependence moderates the relationship between leader political skill and team communication, such that the relationship is stronger when team task interdependence is high rather than low.

Research limitations/implications

First, the paper adopts the measuring scales developed in the western organizational context to investigate the relations and phenomena existing in the Chinese organizational context. Future research should adopt the indigenous measuring scales to investigate the relations and phenomena existing in the Chinese organizational context. Second, both political skill and team performance were reported by the team leader, which might lead to common source bias. Future research should allow team members to rate leaders' political skill and the team leaders' supervisors to provide evaluation of team performance.

Practical implications

Owing to its importance to team performance, political skill is one of the critical skills that leaders should make efforts to develop. When companies recruit leaders for work teams, they should put more attention on the political skills of the candidates. Moreover, companies should cultivate a cooperative team climate to facilitate team communication.

Originality/value

Although Ahearn et al. suggested that leader political skill has positive effect on team performance, they did not empirically examine the specific process and mechanism through which the positive effect occurs. This study argues team communication is a critical mechanism that bridges leader political skill and team operations and outcomes as well. The study adopts longitudinal research design and collects multi‐source data to test the authors' model. The study also complements past research by investigating both the mediating and moderating mechanisms in the leader political‐team performance linkage.

Keywords

Citation

Liu, J., Wang, W. and Cao, K. (2011), "Leader political skill and team performance: a moderated mediation model", Nankai Business Review International, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 5-22. https://doi.org/10.1108/20408741111113475

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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