Forty Years of Political Skill and Will in Organizations: A Review, Meta-Theoretical Framework and Directions for Future Research

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to review the scholarship on political skill and political will so that the authors might inspire future work that assesses these constructs individually and in tandem.

Design/methodology/approach – The “political skill” and “political will” concepts were introduced about 40 years ago, but they only have been measured and produced empirical results much more recently. Since that time, substantial research results have demonstrated the important roles political skill and political will play in organizational behavior. This paper provides a comprehensive review of this research, draws conclusions from this work and provides a meta-theoretical framework of political skill and political will to guide future work in this area.

Findings – Scholarship in this area has developed quite rapidly for political skill, but less so for political will. The authors hope that recent developments in a political will can set the stage for scholars to create a theoretical and empirical balance between these two related constructs.

Originality/value – The authors corral the vast and widespread literature on political skill and will and distill the information for scholars and practitioners alike.