Thriving in Central Network Positions
Journal of Management
© The Author(s) 2015
Theory suggests that thriving, the feeling of vitality and experience of learning, is in large part determined by the social environment of employees’ workplace. One important aspect of this social environment is the position of an individual in the communication network. Individuals who are sources of communication for many colleagues often receive benefits because other employees depend heavily on these individuals for information; however, there may also be drawbacks to this dependence. In particular, employees who are central in the communication network may experience more role overload and role ambiguity and, in turn, lower levels of workplace thriving. Individual differences are also likely to explain why some individuals are more likely to thrive. Relying on research that views organizations as political arenas, we identify political skill as an individual difference that is likely to enhance workplace thriving. Using a moderated-mediation analysis, we find support for the indirect cost of communication centrality on workplace thriving through role overload and role ambiguity. Furthermore, we identify both direct and moderating effects of political skill. Specifically, political skill mitigates the extent to which employees experience role ambiguity, but not role overload, associated with their position in the communication network, and these effects carry through to affect thriving. Star employees are often central in communication networks; with this in mind, we discuss the implications of our findings for employees and organizations.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from SAGE via the DOI in this record.
Vol.44 (2), pp.682-706