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Perceived organizational politics and turnover intentions: critical roles of social adaptive behavior and emotional regulation skills

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 June 2021

Dirk De Clercq*
Goodman School of Business, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario L2S 3A1, Canada
Muhammad Arshad Khan
National Bank of Pakistan, NBP Building، I.I Chundrigar Rd, City Railway Colony, Karachi, Pakistan
Inam Ul Haq
School of Business, Monash University Malaysia, 47500 Bandar Sunway, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Author for correspondence: Dirk De Clercq, E-mail:


With a basis in conservation of resources theory, this study investigates how social adaptive behavior might mediate the relationship between employees' perceptions of organizational politics and their turnover intentions, as well as a buffering role of their emotional regulation skills as a critical personal resource. Data collected from employees in the food sector reveal that beliefs about dysfunctional political games spur turnover intentions, driven by employees' unwillingness to adjust themselves to the actions of their organizational colleagues. This mediating role of social adaptive behavior, or its lack, is less salient when employees have a greater ability to control their own emotions though. For organizations, this study accordingly pinpoints a key mechanism—a reluctance to accommodate other members' preferences—by which perceived organizational politics can escalate into a desire to leave the organization. It also reveals how this mechanism can be better contained by employees' ability to remain calm, even in difficult situations.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press and Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management 2021

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