The Relationship Between Self-Assessed Political Skill and the Individual Dispositional Factors of Age and Gender
SubjectOrganizational behavior--Age factors; Organizational behavior--Gender; Office politics--Age factors; Office politics--Gender
Problem: While the impact of individual political skill on individual and organizational success is clear from the research, determining if proficiency in political skill is contingent upon the individual dispositional factors of age group and gender are less understood. If these dispositional factors contribute to individual proficiency in political skill, one would expect significant differences between these groups on a political skill assessment. The problem is the lack of research in the nature and significance of gender and age group on political skill Procedures: This correlational study was conducted to identify differences in the self-assessment of political skill by gender and age group. This was accomplished by analyzing the data previously collected by Learn Associates LLC, with the use of the Political Skill Inventory (PSI) (Ferris et al., 2005). The PSI was offered to individuals mostly before participation in workshops, classes, and lectures on the topics of organizational politics and political skill with the purpose of providing feedback on group competency level in political skill. The data were not previously analyzed to determine correlations between these various demographic groups. Findings: • No significant mean differences were indicated for the main effect of gender for the four dimensions of political skill or for political skill overall. • No significant differences were indicated for the main effect of age group for the four dimensions of political skill or for political skill overall. • A Tukey-Kramer multiple comparison test detected a difference between age group 1 and age group 3 in apparent sincerity with age group 3 having a greater mean score. However, the effect size was small. • No significant differences were identified for the gender factor within each age group. • Small to medium effects were identified in favor of males in age group 2 for networking ability, networking ability excluding outlier and overall political skill. • Small to medium effects were identified in favor of females in age group 3 for networking ability and overall political skill. • A medium to large effect was identified in favor of females in age group 3 for networking ability excluding outlier. • No significant differences were identified for the age group factor within each gender category. • A small to medium age group effect was identified for males in overall political skill. • Medium age group effects were identified for males in networking ability and networking ability excluding outlier. • Small age group effects were identified for females in networking and overall political skill. • A small to medium age group effect was identified for females in networking ability excluding outlier. Conclusions: 1. Males and females are of equal ability in political skill. 2. Age group may play a role in one’s political skill. Specifically, differences exist between younger workers (i.e., 18 to 30 years of age) and older workers (i.e., 48 to 66 years of age) in the apparent sincerity dimension. 3. Males and females possess different levels of proficiency in political skill at different stages in their careers. Recommendations: 1. It is recommended that similar studies on political skill be undertaken examining other dispositional factors such as race, national origin, etc. 2. It is recommended that similar studies on political skill be undertaken examining situational factors such as organization, occupation, careers level, education level, income, etc. 3. It is recommended that the present study be replicated utilizing a larger sample size. 4. It is recommended that future studies be conducted determine the relative importance of each of the 4 political skill dimensions on individual and organizational success.