Economics and Business
ISSN 2775-9237 (Online)
Published: 16 April 2020
Too Much of a Good Thing: The Tipping Point of Employee Voice
Nancy L. Lam, Arnav Sheth
Saint Mary’s College of California
Download Full-Text Pdf
Keywords: Employee Voice, Profit Maximization, Interdisciplinary Work, Liability of Voice
Extant voice research suggests that voice has a positive effect on organizations, which indicates that an unlimited amount of resources should be devoted to increasing employee voice. However, resources that can enable and facilitate voice - such as managerial attention and focus - can be costly to organizations. Given that there is a cost to increasing employee voice, the benefit of employee voice may not continuously justify the cost. From an interdisciplinary perspective using the Radner-Shepp-Shiryaev mathematical framework in finance, we find that employee voice is beneficial for an organization up to a point. Specifically, we find that employee voice, despite having a myriad of positive outcomes for organizations, reaches a tipping point where the cost of voice to the organization may outweigh its benefits. After this tipping point is reached, organizations do not benefit from investing to increase employee voice. The mere presence of employee voice, without regard to how much, may not be sufficient for enhanced organizational performance. Implications for this work are discussed.
Ashford, S. J., Rothbard, N. P., Piderit, S. K., & Dutton, J. E. (1998). Out on a limb: The role of context and impression management in selling gender-equity issues. Administrative Science Quarterly, 23-57.
Bartlett, C. A., & Ghoshal, S. (1994). Beyond strategy to purpose. Harvard Business Review, 79-88.
Bashshur, M. R., & Oc, B. (2014). When Voice Matters: A Multilevel Review of the Impact of Voice in Organizations. Journal of Management. doi: 10.1177/0149206314558302
Burris, E. (2011). The risks and rewards of speaking up: Managerial responses to employee voice. Academy of Management Journal, amj. 2010.0562.
Detert, J. R., & Burris, E. R. (2007). Leadership behavior and employee voice: is the door really open? Academy of Management Journal, 50(4), 869-884.
Detert, J. R., Burris, E. R., Harrison, D. A., & Martin, S. R. (2013). Voice Flows to and around Leaders Understanding When Units Are Helped or Hurt by Employee Voice. Administrative Science Quarterly, 58(4), 624-668.
Drucker, P. F. (1969). The knowledge society. New Society, 13(343), 629-631.
Dutton, J. E., Ashford, S. J., O'Neill, R. M., & Lawrence, K. A. (2001). Moves that matter: Issue selling and organizational change. Academy of Management Journal, 44(4), 716-736.
Edmondson, A. (1999). Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(2), 350-383.
Guo, X. (2002). Some risk management problems for firms with internal competition and debt. Journal of Applied Probability, 39:55–69.
McClean, E., Burris, E., & Detert, J. (2012). When does voice lead to exit? It depends on leadership. Academy of Management Journal, amj. 2011.0041.
Milliken, F. J., & Lam, N. (2009). Making the decision to speak up or to remain silent: implications for organizational learning. Voice and silence in organizations, 225-244.
Morrison, E. W., & Milliken, F. J. (2000). Organizational silence: A barrier to change and development in a pluralistic world. Academy of Management Review, 25(4), 706-725.
Morrison, E. W., & Milliken, F. J. (2003). Speaking up, remaining silent: The dynamics of voice and silence in organizations. Journal of Management Studies, 40(6), 1353-1358.
Morrison, E. W., & Phelps, C. C. (1999). Taking charge at work: Extrarole efforts to initiate workplace change. Academy of Management Journal, 42(4), 403-419.
Morrison, E. W., Wheeler-Smith, S. L., & Kamdar, D. (2011). Speaking up in groups: a cross-level study of group voice climate and voice. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(1), 183.
Radner, R. and Shepp, L. (1996). Risk vs. profit potential: A model for corporate strategy. Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 20:1373–1393.
Shepp, L., & Shiryaev, A. (1996). Hiring and firing optimally in a large corporation. Journal
of economic dynamics and Control, 20(9), 1523-1539.
Sheth, A., Shepp, L., and Palmon, O. (2011). Risk-taking, financial distress and innovation. Academy of Business Journal: Special Issue on the Global Debt Crisis, 1:5–18.