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Supervisor political support as a buffer to subordinates' reactions to politics perceptions: A three-sample investigation

Rachel E. Kane-Frieder (Department of Management, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Wayne A. Hochwarter (Department of Management, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Herlanda L. Hampton (Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Gerald R. Ferris (Department of Management, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 4 February 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of subordinates' perceived supervisor political support (SPS) as a boundary condition capable of attenuating individuals' negative reactions to politics perceptions.

Design/methodology/approach

Data for this three-sample investigation were obtained from employees of a package distribution firm (n=144), employees of an engineering firm (n=187), and individuals attending a manufacturing-related professional conference (n=174). Data were analyzed using hierarchical moderated regression analyses.

Findings

Consistent with prior research, individuals' politics perceptions were directly associated with less than desirable workplace outcomes. However, individuals' who perceived their supervisors to provide them with SPS were less negatively affected by politics perceptions than their peers who perceived low levels of SPS.

Research limitations/implications

SPS appears to provide information to subordinates to aid in sensemaking such that they are better able to deal with requisite uncertainty associated with their political settings, and in doing so, SPS shifts their perceptions of the political environment from that of threat to potential benefit.

Originality/value

This investigation in one of a handful of studies to examine the other-benefitting role of political behavior as well as the conditions under which politics perceptions result in auspicious outcomes. Additionally, the manuscript is unique in that it introduces, conceptually delineates, and empirically evaluates a more active, behavioral form of supervisory support (i.e. SPS).

Keywords

Citation

E. Kane-Frieder, R., A. Hochwarter, W., L. Hampton, H. and R. Ferris, G. (2014), "Supervisor political support as a buffer to subordinates' reactions to politics perceptions: A three-sample investigation", Career Development International, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 27-48. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-09-2013-0113

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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