Political Tactics as Affective Events: Implications for Individual Perception and Attitude

Chase E. Thiel, Central Washington University
Jason Hill, University of Texas at San Antonio
Jennifer A. Griffith, University of Oklahoma
Shane Connelly, University of Oklahoma

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Leaders use a wide spectrum of political tactics to achieve objectives, both personal and organizational. Grounded in Affective Events Theory (Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996), the current study conceptualized political tactics employed by leaders as work events with an affective component that can be perceived and responded to positively and negatively. Affective responses are dependent upon the perceived legitimacy of the tactic (sanctioned vs. unsanctioned), which are considered in light of follower expectations and attributions. The extent to which political tactics benefit the leader or organization was also examined. Participants were involved in a low-fidelity simulation that required reading a series of emails containing information regarding political tactics employed by their immediate manager and the outcome of these actions. Participants then indicated their level of affect on both positive and negative scales, their perceptions of leader effectiveness, and perceptions of organizational justice. Results suggest that leaders who employ sanctioned tactics have more positive followers, who see them as more effective and who perceive greater organizational justice than leaders who employ nonsanctioned tactics.