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Political Will in Political Work

Montgomery, Joel (2023) Political Will in Political Work. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.102205) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:102205)

Language: English

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Little is known about why individuals engage in political activity within the workplace despite Mintzberg (1985) outlining political motivation, or will, as a central tenet of organisational politics. Where scholars have examined political will, their disciplines have impacted their conceptualisation, with political science and organisational behaviour (OB) treating political will at either the collective level (Post et al., 2010) or at the micro-individual level (Doldor, 2017; Kapoutsis et al., 2017) respectively. Therefore, this thesis presents two studies seeking to uncover interdisciplinary insights into political motivation. Drawing on attribution theory (Weiner, 1985), both studies within this thesis stem from 60 qualitative semi-structured interviews that examine individuals’ reasoning for political activity. Interviews were conducted within a context of political work: local councils throughout the U.K. with officers (n=30), who engage in more typical workplace politics, and councillors (n=30), whose role it is to be political. In the first study, attributional analysis was used to elicit the cause (i.e., motivation) of junior, mid-level and senior individuals’ engagement in political activity. A key finding from this study was that power was important for the content of political motivation. Consequently, study two built on the findings of study one by adopting a unique social-cognitive mental mapping methodology to elicit the ‘power mental models’ of individuals and how these impacted political will. Overall, findings from study one suggested that individuals’ environment, contextuality and positionality are important to political will including the impact of seniority, suggesting political motivation is part of a process of social cognition. Study two went further and illustrates how power forebears political will, acting to shape or constrain motivation. Implications of these insights from an interdisciplinary perspective are discussed in the final chapter, alongside directions for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Wyatt, Madeleine
Thesis advisor: Leicht, Carola
Thesis advisor: Lewis, Patricia
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.102205
Uncontrolled keywords: Organisational Politics, Political will, Political motivation, Political leadership
Subjects: H Social Sciences
J Political Science
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Leadership and Management
Funders: University of Kent (
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2023 11:10 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2023 09:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Montgomery, Joel.

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