Nearly 2 decades ago, social influence theorists called for a new stream of research that would investigate why and how influence tactics are effective. The present study proposed that political skill affects the style of execution of influence attempts. It utilized balance theory to explain the moderating effect of employee political skill on the relationships between self- and supervisor-reported ingratiation. Additionally, supervisor reports of subordinate ingratiation were hypothesized to be negatively related to supervisor ratings of subordinate interpersonal facilitation. Results from a combined sample of 2 retail service organizations provided evidence that subordinates with high political skill were less likely than those low in political skill to have their demonstrated ingratiation behavior perceived by targets as a manipulative influence attempt. Also, when subordinates were perceived by their supervisors to engage in more ingratiation behavior, the subordinates were rated lower on interpersonal facilitation. Implications of these findings, limitations, and future research directions are provided.
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