Organizational politics as a blindfold: Employee work engagement is negatively related to supervisor-rated work outcomes when organizational politics is high

Yongxing Guo (School of Economics and Management, Hebei University of Technology, Tianjin, China)
Haiying Kang (School of Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Bo Shao (Department of Management, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Beni Halvorsen (School of Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Publication date: 1 April 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the moderating effect of organizational politics on the relationships between work engagement, in-role performance and organization citizenship behavior – organization (OCBO).

Design/methodology/approach

Theoretical hypotheses were tested using a sample of 107 supervisor-subordinate dyads in China. Outcome variables, such as in-role performance and OCBO, were rated by supervisors.

Findings

Contrary to the established literature on positive work engagement-work outcomes relationships, the findings supported the prediction that work engagement was negatively related to supervisor-rated in-role performance and OCBO when the organizational is perceived as highly political.

Research limitations/implications

The sample size for this study is relatively small. In addition, the authors measured organizational politics from employees’ perspectives, which might not reflect reality objectively. Furthermore, the data were collected at a single time point, so causal relationships could not be validated.

Practical implications

When employees perceive the work environment as political, organizations need to be aware of non-work factors that may influence supervisors’ evaluation of employee performance to ensure they do not demotivate and discourage highly engaged employees.

Originality/value

Considerable research has shown that work engagement is positively related to in-role performance and OCBO. The present study, however, challenges and extends previous research by suggesting that work engagement can lead to low supervisor evaluation of in-role performance and OCBO when the organization is perceived to be political.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work is supported by the Young Scientists Fund of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos 71702043 and 71602163) and The National Social Science Fund of China (Grant No. G2018202059).

Citation

Guo, Y., Kang, H., Shao, B. and Halvorsen, B. (2019), "Organizational politics as a blindfold: Employee work engagement is negatively related to supervisor-rated work outcomes when organizational politics is high", Personnel Review, Vol. 48 No. 3, pp. 784-798. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-07-2017-0205

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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