Thriving in central network positions: The role of political skill

By Kristin L. Cullen
Center for Creative Leadership

Alexandra Gerbasi
Grenoble Ecole de Management

Donna Chrobot-Mason
University of Cincinnati


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…


Cullen, K. L., Gerbasi, A., & Chrobot-Mason, D. (2018). Thriving in central network positions: The role of political skill. Journal of Management, 44(2), 682–706.


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