Purpose: Considering the detrimental impact of workplace cyberbullying on employees and organizations, it is necessary to understand factors that potentially induce employees to engage in cyberbullying and to recognize personal characteristics that may help employees mitigate its impact. This research applies the conservation of resources (COR) theory to investigate the effect of organizational politics and political skill on employees’ exposure to workplace cyberbullying as well as to analyze the subsequent impact on emotional exhaustion. Moreover, the interaction effect of political skill and organizational politics on employees’ exposure to workplace cyberbullying is analyzed.
Design/methodology/approach: The total of 358 complete questionnaires were obtained from one medium-sized public university in Thailand. The partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) was used to analyze the data.
Findings: The analysis supports the positive association between organizational politics and employees’ exposure to workplace cyberbullying. Employees’ exposure to workplace cyberbullying also has a positive association with emotional exhaustion. On the other hand, the analysis showed that political skill has a negative association with employees’ exposure to workplace cyberbullying. The result from the moderating effect analysis further shows that political skill also reduces the impact of organizational politics on employees’ exposure to workplace cyberbullying.
Originality/value: The incorporation of the COR theory provides theoretical insight into how political skill of employees can buffer the impact of organizational politics on exposure to workplace cyberbullying. It advances the knowledge found in previous research that lacked solid theory to explain the interaction between organizational politics and political skill of employees in the area of workplace cyberbullying.