Leadership style, organizational politics, and employees' performance: An empirical examination of two competing models

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Purpose This study aims to examine perceptions of politics among public sector employees as a possible mediator between the supervisor's leadership style and formal and informal aspects of employees' performance (Organizational Citizenship Behavior – OCB). Design/methodology/approach The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) was distributed to employees of a public security organization in Israel (N=201), asking them to evaluate their supervisor's style of leadership. Employees were also asked to report their perceptions of organizational politics using the scale developed by Kacmar and Ferris. In addition, supervisors provided objective evaluations of the levels of their employees' in-role performance and OCB. The intra-structure of the leadership variable was examined by exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) with structural equation modeling. Two alternative models were examined: first, a model of mediation and second, a direct model with no mediation. Findings The research resulted in mixed findings that only partially support the mediating effect of organizational politics on the relationship between leadership, in-role performance and OCB. A direct relationship between leadership and performance (in-role and OCB) was also found. Research limitations/implications The differences between the models do not allow clear answers as to the mediating or direct effect of organizational politics in the relationship between leadership and performance. The implications on causality are also limited. Practical implications Managers should recognize the advantages and disadvantages of different leadership styles as these may affect organizational politics and eventually, formal performance and organizational citizenship behaviors. Originality/value The findings of this paper contribute to the understanding of the relationships between leadership, performance, and politics in the workplace and in the public sector in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-683
Number of pages23
JournalPersonnel Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - 14 Aug 2007


  • Employee behaviour
  • Israel
  • Leadership
  • Organizational behaviour
  • Organizational politics
  • Performance management
  • Public sector organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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