Overall, the results have corroborated the integrity of this construct for political skill and demonstrated that all of the sub skills are critical to succeeding in a wide variety of roles. The survey asked participants to rate each item on a scale of 1 to 6, based on their view of how critical each item was to success in their role. The overall mean of all 55 items was 4.64 and the lowest item had a mean of 3.84.
This was not a surprise to us, since many other researchers have established that political skill is important. For instance, a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that 61% of HR managers believed influencing and political skill to be one of the most important competencies. Academics have also reached this conclusion on a regular basis. Falbe and Yukl identified political skill as one of the most important determinants of managerial success.
However, it should be noted that the mix of political skills required varies depending on the context in which people work. As one interviewee commented, being in an SME means there is no place for conflict to fester as there is in larger organisations. Political upsets are very obvious and immediate. It was also noted that the larger the organisation the greater the need for group influencing skills.
One interviewee summed up the need for political skill with the words “it’s your way of taking control of success”.