Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Joseph C. Rost, PhD, Director; William P. Foster, EdD; Trudy J. Sopp, PhD


decision-making, individual political behaviors, instrument development, instrument validation, Leadership studies, organizational politics


Organizational politics impacts decision making, leadership, policy implementation, change, and individual effectiveness. Although generally acknowledged as a reality of organizational life, political behavior is misunderstood, certainly a highly sensitive topic and furthermore, scholarly literature decries the paucity of empirical research on the topic. Consequently, the purpose of this research was to design and validate an instrument, in the in-basket simulation format, that measures an individual's political effectiveness. The instrument's proposed purpose was the exploration of an individual's political behavior for two reasons: (1) as a new research tool to facilitate quantitative and qualitative research; and (2) as a developmental activity for the participants. Using critical incidents about political behavior and merger case studies, an in-basket simulation was constructed upon the following elements: a composite definition of political behavior; a typology of political behavior; and the body of social exchange theory which includes power considerations. Content validity was established through the verification of the in-basket instrument's three hypotheses: (1) that various political behaviors can be presented by the in-basket respondents, (2) that these behaviors will range from ineffective to effective solutions to organizational situations, and (3) that the political behaviors expressed will vary with the type of problem presented. The instrument was administered to two volunteer pilot groups of 33 managers from various organizations. The managers' responses to the in-basket items were evaluated by a panel of judges who then organized a behaviorally anchored scoring key and scoring procedures. Two pairs of independent scorers marked the in-basket responses for each pilot group and the interrater reliability calculations were statistically significant. Trained assessors conducted post in-basket interviews which explored the respondents' motives for acting or not acting in a political manner. The in-basket instructions, scoring, and administration procedures were standardized. In summary, a valid and reliable instrument for measuring and interpreting individual political behavior was developed.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access