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Political skill, participation in decision-making and organizational commitment

Geir Thompson (Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)
Robert Buch (Oslo Business School, Oslo, Norway and Akershus University College, Oslo, Norway)
Bård Kuvaas (Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




Research has demonstrated that political skill is associated with leadership effectiveness. However, the field still lacks understanding of how political skill makes leaders more effective. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the political skill literature by investigating a specific mechanism through which political skill may relate to follower commitment.


The study population was drawn from 148 supervisors and 988 subordinates from top, middle and operational levels in the business organizations.


Structural equation model analysis showed that political skill was positively related to Participation in decision making (PDM) and PDM was positively related to organizational commitment (OC). Furthermore, political skill indirectly predicted OC via PDM. In addition, the direct relationship between political skill and OC was not significant, suggesting “full” mediation. Finally, politically skilled leaders’ desire to encourage followers to participate in decision making was amplified by their ability to build strong, beneficial alliances and coalitions, resulting in increased social capital and even greater influence.

Practical implications

Involving subordinates in decision processes is likely to inspire trust and confidence, promote credibility, help develop a favorable relationship with the leader and enhance pride of participation in the organization.


The findings in the present study are of great importance for future research on political skill. It may change the approach for testing the validity of the theory by focusing on influence tactics. This approach will, in the authors’ view, constitute the future research avenue for research on political skill.



Thompson, G., Buch, R. and Kuvaas, B. (2017), "Political skill, participation in decision-making and organizational commitment", Personnel Review, Vol. 46 No. 4, pp. 740-749.



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