Publication Details

Wilkinson, A., Gollan, P. J., Kalfa, S. & Xu, Y. (2018). Voices unheard: employee voice in the new century. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 29 (5), 711-724.


The concept of employee voice has attracted considerable attention in research since the 1980s primarily in the fields of Employment Relations/Human Resource Management (ER/HRM) and Organisational Behaviour (OB). Each of these disciplines focuses on different aspects of employee voice, the former examining the mechanisms for employees to have 'a say' in organisational decision-making (Freeman, Boxall, & Haynes, 2007; Gollan, Kaufman, Taras, & Wilkinson, 2015; Wilkinson & Fay, 2011) and the latter considering voice as an 'extra-role upward communication behaviour' (Morrison, 2014, p. 174) with the intent to improve organizational functioning. The purpose of voice is seen by each of these disciplines in a different way. ER/HRM perspectives are underpinned by the assumption that it is a fundamental democratic right for workers to extend a degree of control over managerial decision-making within an organisation (Kaufman, 2015; Wilkinson, Gollan, Lewin, & Marchington, 2010). Thus, everyone should have a voice and a lack of opportunities to express that voice may adversely affect workers' dignity. In contrast, OB perspectives are underpinned more by a concern with organisational improvements, therefore leaving it much more to managerial discretion to reduce or change existing voice arrangements due to, for example, an economic downturn (Barry & Wilkinson, 2016).

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