The literature on organizational politics has focused on the proactive promotion of self-interests but has neglected the reactive defense of self-interests. Defensive behaviors are argued to: (1) avoid action, via over-conforming, passing the buck, playing dumb, depersonalizing, smoothing and stretching, and stalling, (2) avoid blame via buffing, playing safe, justifying, scapegoating, misrepresenting, and escalating commitment, and (3) avoid change via resisting change and protecting turf. Organizational antecedents of defensiveness include bureaucratic rationality and various stressors, and individual antecedents include insecurity and anxiety, emotional exhaustion, work alienation, self-monitoring, and low self-efficacy. The effects of defensiveness on the individual, recipients, and organization are discussed, and directions for future research are presented.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Social Sciences(all)
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation