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Workplace Marginalization: In the Group but Out of the Loop

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New-entry employees expect to be involved rather than to be marginalized. This paper proposes a model to examine the process through which employees can be exempt from marginalization in their organization as a “political arena.” We argue that an employee, in order not to be marginalized, would like to perform high-quality in-role and extra-role behaviors and also develop good guanxi with his/her immediate supervisor. Moreover, the effects of employee efforts and guanxi on workplace marginalization are moderated by the organization political climate. Two studies were performed to examine the hypothesized model. The pilot study employed a sample of civil servants to develop and validate the measurement of workplace marginalization. The main study collected matched data from 343 employees, 662 of their colleagues, and 343 immediate supervisors. Results of hierarchical linear modeling analysis show that employee job performance, organizational citizenship behavior, and supervisor-subordinate guanxi are negatively related to workplace marginalization. In addition, the negative relationship between guanxi and workplace marginalization is stronger in firms with less organizational politics than those with intensive politics.


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