How should we speak: comparing effectiveness of promotive and prohibitive voices

Open Access
Cheung, Ho Kwan
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dr. Songqi Liu, Thesis Supervisor
  • Rick R Jacobs, Honors Advisor
  • voice
  • promotive voice
  • prohibitive voice
  • performance ratings
  • idea endorsement
  • liking
  • extra-role behavior
Within an organization, while supervisors are the ones who hold the power to implement changes and direct the daily operation, it is often the subordinates who hold valuable information about existing concerns and innovative ideas that can potentially contribute to the success of the organization. In order to ensure smooth running of the organizational and its continual growth, employee voice behavior is essential as it is linked to important outcomes such as employee psychological well-being and organizational performances. This study examines whether managerial responses to employee voice behavior is dependent upon the types of voice utilized. Specially, we argue that employee receive higher idea endorsement, liking and performance ratings when they employ promtoive and group voices instead of prohibitive and individual voices. Results showed that managers rate higher performance for employees employing promotive voice. Findings also suggest that promotive voice is linked to higher liking and idea endorsement than prohibitive voice while group voice may be related to lower idea endorsement than individual voice. Inconsistent results may be partially due to small sample size and undergraduate student sample but have important implications upon how subordinates should speak up in the workplace. Supervisors do not perceive all speaking up behaviors equally. Subordinates are more likely to achieve a win-win situation of receiving higher idea endorsement, interpersonal liking, and favorable performance ratings when they provide a solution to address a concern that they have raised.