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Speaking up in organizations. Four studies on employee voice

01 April 2010

Promotie: B. Pauksztat, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Proefschrift: Speaking up in organizations. Four studies on employee voice

Promotor(s): prof.dr. R.P.M. Wittek, prof.dr. F.N. Stokman

Faculteit: Gedrags- en Maatschappijwetenschappen

Contact: Birgit Pauksztat, tel. 06 509 872 70, e-mail:

Speaking up in organizations. Four studies on employee voice

This dissertation examines the antecedents of employee voice, or actions in which employees point out problems, and/or make suggestions for improvements to others within the organization. Previous studies have examined a large number of possible antecedents of voice. However, effects were often inconsistent from study to study. The purpose of the studies presented in the following chapters is to investigate possible explanations of these inconsistencies. We adopt a situational, interdependence approach to voice, emphasizing the interdependencies among the employees of an organization. Like other situational approaches to voice, it highlights the importance of the organizational context in affecting employees' motivation for speaking up, as well as the perceived costs and effectiveness of voice. It adds a new perspective by drawing attention to sharedness as a key characteristic of problems, and the possibility of employees' coordinating their actions in response to a shared problem.

The four studies in this dissertation are based on employee surveys and interviews in two large public sector organizations in the Netherlands. Our findings demonstrate the complexity of the processes influencing employees' decision whether to speak up or not. This is affected by characteristics of the problem, norms prescribing or proscribing a particular course of action, relations with the 'recipient' of voice, and characteristics of organizational design. In contrast to voice more generally, social relations had no effect on 'representative voice' (where one or a few employees speak up on their own behalf and for others).

Last modified:13 March 2020 01.17 a.m.
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