Good Workers and Crooked Bosses: The Effect of Voice Suppression by Supervisors on Employees' Populist Attitudes and Voting

Stanojevic, A., Akkerman, A. & Manevska, K., Apr-2020, In : Political Psychology. 41, 2, p. 363-381 19 p.

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This study is the first to explore the effect of political socialization in the workplace on populist attitudes. We investigate the effect of workplace voice suppression on employees' populist attitudes and voting. We expect employees who were suppressed by supervisors to hold more populist attitudes and to be more likely to vote for a populist party than employees who were not. We argue that some employees experience voice suppression by supervisors as stressful, so splitting is likely to be employed as a defense mechanism. Splitting is achieved through cognitive distinction and antagonism between "the good workers" and "the crooked bosses." Such a split mental framework can generalize into a worldview that contrasts "the pure people" and "the corrupt elite," a core characteristic of populism. We predict that the extent to which suppression triggers splitting and consequentially incites populist attitudes and voting depends on employees' acceptance of power distance. We test our hypotheses using SEM on survey data from 2990 members of the Dutch labor force. Our results show that experiences of voice suppression are positively related to populist attitudes and populist voting. As expected, this effect is stronger for employees who are less accepting of power distance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-381
Number of pages19
JournalPolitical Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date12-Sep-2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2020


  • populism, splitting, power distance, employee voice suppression, workplace political socialization, generalization, POWER-DISTANCE, ENVIRONMENTAL TRANSMISSION, COGNITIVE-DISSONANCE, POLITICAL-ATTITUDES, CROSS-LEVEL, WORKPLACE, GLOBALIZATION, SUPPORT, JUSTICE, PEOPLE

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