Dispositional effects in intra-organizational influence tactics: a meta-analytic review.

Author:Barbuto, John E., Jr.
 
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We conducted a meta-analysis to test dispositional antecedents of intra-organizational influence tactics used. The antecedents tested included self-reported measures of impression management, Machiavellianism, self-monitoring, locus of control, social identity, intrinsic/internal motivation, and extrinsic/external motivation. Using Hunter and Schmidt's validity generalization procedures, the relationships between each dispositional variable and six influence tactics--ingratiation, rationality, exchanges, coalitions, upward appeals, and assertiveness--were assessed. Cumulative sample sizes ranging from 653 to 2,244 found several significant relationships among the 42 correlations examined. Each influence tactic examined demonstrated significant dispositional effects. Implications of findings are discussed and directions for future influence tactic research are provided. (dispositions, influence-tactics, meta-analysis).

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The study of dispositional effects in organizational behavior has been a subject of continued dialogue in the field (Davis-Blake & Pfeffer, 1989; House, Shane & Herold, 1996; Mischel, 1968). In light of the dialogue concerning the utility of studying dispositional effects in organizational behavior research, empirical summaries of the literature are necessary to advance this discourse beyond "armchair philosophy." The need for dispositional research is salient to the on-going dialogue of dispositional effects in the organizational behavior literature.

Over the past twenty years, a number of studies have examined the influence process using categories of proactive behaviors termed "influence tactics" (Kipnis, Schmidt, & Wilkinson, 1980; Schriesheim & Hinkin, 1990; Yukl & Falbe, 1990). A search on PSYCHINFO revealed 341 articles that have examined "influence tactics" or "influence strategies" since 1980. As researchers continue to examine influence tactics, it is important that summaries of findings be calculated to guide future efforts.

Research on influence tactics has examined both situational and dispositional variables. Situational antecedents have included agent's perceived power (Hinkin & Schriesheim, 1990), political behaviors (Harrell-Cook et al., 1999), task objectives (Yukl & Falbe, 1990; Yukl, Guinan, & Sottolano, 1995), direction of influence (Falbe & Yukl, 1992; Yukl & Tracey, 1992), group processes (Guerin, 1995), organizational context (Ansari & Kapoor, 1987), role clarity (Orpen, 2000), and exchange quality (Wayne & Ferris, 1990). Dispositional variables have included work values (Blickle, 2000), impression management (Deluga, 1991; Wayne & Kacmur, 1991), sex (Dubrin, 1991; Thacker, 1995), and motivation (Barbuto, Fritz, & Marx, 2002).

Higgins, Judge, and Ferris (2003) conducted a meta-analysis of outcomes associated with influence tactics and found that the specific strategies used in the influence process have positive effects on work outcomes. Much more is collectively known about the impacts of influence tactics on work-units and organizations than is known about the roots of such strategies.

The antecedents of influence tactics have been a major focus of inquiry in studies using dispositional variables such as impression management, Machiavellianism, self-monitoring, locus of control, social identity, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, role clarity, gender, age, context, direction of influence, and task objectives. Because such a large number of studies exist in the literature, an examination of the cumulative effects of some of these relationships is necessary to generalize findings and guide future research efforts.

This study tested dispositional effects of influence tactics used, employing literature search strategies consistent with those described by Podsakoff, MacKenzie, and Bommer (1996) and sample-weighted meta-analytic procedures consistent with those of Fuller and Hester (1999), using the Hunter and Schmidt (2004) validity generalization procedures.

Influence Tactics and Their Covariates

Kipnis et al. (1980) extended the work of French and Raven's (1959) power tactics by inductively examining the influence strategies used by employees to influence their supervisors in organizational settings. The resulting work used factor analysis to identify six reliably measured influence tactics. The influence tactics examined in this study included the six tactics originally proposed by Kipnis et al.: ingratiation, rationality, exchanges, coalitions, upward appeals, and assertiveness. These six tactics were replicated by Schriesheim and Hinkin (1990) and Yukl and Falbe (1990) and are evident in most iterations of influence tactic research in the organizational behavior field.

Ingratiation

Ingratiation is the practice of getting others in a good mood before trying to influence them, often taking the form of flattery. In the twenty plus years since ingratiation was first articulated in the Kipnis et al. (1980) framework, its antecedents have been examined extensively. Relationships between person-centered variables and ingratiation influence tactics have been consistently found in the literature. Studies have found positive correlations with impression management (Deluga, 1991; Hochwarter et al., 2000), Machiavellianism (Andersson & Bateman, 2000), self-monitoring (Kumar & Beyerlain, 1991), external locus of control (Ringer & Boss, 2000), social identification (Harrison, Hochwarter, Perrewe, & Ralston, 1998), intrinsic motivation (Barbuto & Scholl, 1999), and extrinsic motivation (Harrison et al., 1998).

Rationality

Rationality involves making logical persuasive arguments to influence the decisions or behaviors of others. Kipnis et al. (1980) labeled influence attempts of this nature reason, while Yukl and Falbe (1990) called this tactic rational persuasion. In this study, we used Schriesheim and Hinkin's (1990) term, rationality. Taken together, person-centered variables appear related to the use of rationality influence tactics. Research of the antecedents of rationality has revealed positive correlations with impression management (Deluga, 1991), Machiavellianism (Andersson & Bateman, 2000), self-monitoring (Hochwarter et al., 2000), and intrinsic motivation (Blickle, 2000), and negative correlations with locus of control (Ringer & Boss, 2000).

Exchanges

Exchanges are characterized by the offer of tangible rewards or favors for compliance from others, and may include reminding others of past favors when attempting to influence them. Exchanges were originally conceptualized by Kipnis et al. (1980) and similarly defined later using the same term (Schriesheim & Hinkin, 1990; Yukl & Falbe, 1990). The use of exchange tactics appears to share relations with person-centered variables. Research on antecedents of exchange tactics has revealed positive correlations with locus of control, Machiavellianism, self-monitoring (Hochwarter et al., 2000), and intrinsic motivation (Barbuto, Fritz & Marx, 2001).

Coalitions

Coalitions involve gathering support from several people, creating a peer pressure or a "ganging up" effect to influence others' actions or decisions. Coalitions were originally conceptualized by Kipnis et al. (1980) and similarly defined by later researchers using the same term (Schriesheim & Hinkin, 1990; Yukl & Falbe, 1990). The use of coalition tactics may be preceded by person-centered variables. Research on antecedents of coalitions has suggested positive correlations with impression management and extrinsic motivation (Hochwarter et al., 2000), Machiavellianism (Andersson & Bateman, 2000), self-monitoring (Caldwell & Burger, 1997), intrinsic motivation (Barbuto & Scholl, 1999), and locus of control (Ringer & Boss, 2000).

Upward Appeal

Upward appeal can be described as gaining support from someone's boss in an effort to influence that person, using the hierarchical structure to work the system when attempting to influence. Upward appeal has been studied extensively since Kipnis et al. (1980) originally defined it. Person-centered variables appear to be appropriate antecedents of upward appeal tactics. Research in the antecedents of upward appeal has revealed positive relationships with locus of control and extrinsic motivation (Hochwarter et al., 2000), Machiavellianism (Vecchio & Sussmann, 1989), and self-monitoring (Caldwell & Burger, 1997), and negative relationships with social identity (Hochwarter et al., 2000).

Assertiveness

Assertiveness is the practice of making repeated requests in order to influence another to do something. This tactic features proactive actions designed to make intentions and desires clear, with the aim of getting others to succumb to influence attempts. Kipnis et al. (1980) originally labeled this influence behavior sanctions, Yukl and Falbe (1990) labeled it pressure tactics, while Schriesheim and Hinkin (1990) called it assertiveness. For the purposes of this study, behavior that utilizes threats, demands or intimidation is considered assertiveness. The use of assertiveness influence tactics appears to be preceded by person-centered variables. Research on antecedents of assertiveness revealed positive correlations with Machiavellianism (Vecchio & Sussmann, 1989), extrinsic motivation, impression management, self-monitoring (Hochwarter et al., 2000), and locus of control (Ringer & Boss, 2000); and negative relationships with social identity (Hochwarter et al., 2000) and intrinsic motivation (Barbuto & Scholl, 1999).

Influence Tactic Research Similar to That of Kipnis et al.

Schriesheim and Hinkin (1990) replicated the influence typology of Kipnis et al. (1980) and reported it to be inadequate because of weak factor loading on several dimensions of influence. Schriesheim and Hinkin revised the subscales to produce an 18-item measure (six dimensions with three items each). Yukl and Falbe (1990) contributed to this line of inquiry by adding several influence tactics not operationalized in the other frameworks...

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