Political skill and emotional exhaustion: test of a moderated mediation model

Empirical studies
By Anne Rudelle Astié, Lionel Dagot


Currently, companies are faced with mobility, uncertainty and rapid development of information technologies. Therefore, they need to develop projects that require organizational and innovative capacities in order to face competition. Many companies have moved from a stable and predictable environment to an unstable and uncertain one. This context leads to making work environments more political. To cope with these increasingly uncertain and dynamic work environments, individuals must function through power games, conflicts, alliances, negotiations and influence tactics for the purpose of cooperation while developing the creativity necessary for the success of projects. In order to navigate properly in such environments, social skills developed in the organizational field stand out: political skill. Drawing from the theoretical frame of the Conservation of Resources (Hobfoll, 1989), this study aims to deepen research on the mechanisms through which political skill influences emotional exhaustion. Thus, this study examines the mediating effect of autonomy on the relationship between political skill and emotional exhaustion. It also examines how politically skilled individuals react to perceptions of political decision making and therefore, the moderating effect between political skill and political decision making on autonomy at work. In a sample of 123 French employees who completed an online questionnaire, our results indicate that politically skilled individuals increase perceived job control which in turn, reduces emotional exhaustion. Moreover, in contexts in which decision making is perceived as highly political, a high level of political skill is associated with a significant increase in autonomy. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.


  • Political skill
  • political decision making
  • autonomy
  • emotional exhaustion
  • moderated mediation model
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