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Employee voice: An antecedent to organisational engagement?

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Some findings from Dr Kevin Ruck's PhD thesis related to the association between employee voice and organisational engagement, presented at Bledcom 2016 by Kevin and his PhD supervisor Dr Mary Welch.

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Employee voice: An antecedent to organisational engagement?

  1. 1. Employee voice: An antecedent to organisational engagement? Dr Kevin Ruck Dr Mary Welch University of Central Lancashire, UK
  2. 2. Introduction • Practical inspiration for the study: – How can internal communication managers contribute to organisational effectiveness? • Theoretical underpinnings: – By influencing employee engagement? – By enabling employee voice? • Scholarly contributions needed? – Gruman and Saks (2014) note that little attention has been given to the relationship between voice and engagement – Reissner& Pagan (2013) highlight the need for research into relationships between communication and engagement
  3. 3. Literature review • Employee voice and silence • Voice concept history stretches back centuries • However, often depicted as starting with: – Hirschman's 1970s consumer behaviour work on exit, voice and loyalty – Through Farrel's (1983) application of the concept to employees and addition of neglect – To Van Dyne, Ang and Botero's (2003) work on employee silence and voice: • Employee voice: intentionally expressing work related ideas, information and opinions • Employee silence: intentionally withholding work related ideas, information and opinions
  4. 4. Conceptual framework • Internal communication, dimensions include: – Team peer, project group, line-manager and senior manager communication • Internal corporate communication • Employee engagement Kahn (1990), Schaufeli and Bakker (2004) Saks (2006) engagement focus - Job engagement • Organisation engagement
  5. 5. Welch, 2011.
  6. 6. Methodology • Confidential, anonymous survey strategy • Self-administrated, cross-sectional questionnaire designed for the study • The Internal Communication and Organisational Engagement Questionnaire (ICOEQ) – Employee information needs gauged – Internal corporate communication method preferences assessed – Internal corporate communication satisfaction measured • Including three questions exploring employee voice, satisfaction with opportunities for upward communication • Views of internal communication at three levels drawn from Welch and Jackson's (2007) internal communication matrix: senior management; line management; and, peer communication – Engagement indicated via adaptation of Saks (2006) organisation engagement approach and synthesis with Kahn's (1990) view of engagement – One item captured employee views of the organisation as a good place to work – A qualitative section explored views on communication strengths and weaknesses – Demographic information
  7. 7. Data collection: five organisations Organisation Population (approximate) Number of respondents Response rate (approximate) Government department in Wales 1200 276 23 percent Local authority in England (1) 420 167 39 percent Local authority in England (2) 900 159 16 percent Housing Association in England 800 205 26 percent Financial services department in Scotland 2400 1259 52 percent
  8. 8. Research objectives 1. How satisfied are employees with opportunities to exercise their voice? 2. How good are line managers and senior managers at responding to suggestions from employees? 3. To what extent might employee voice be positively associated with organisational engagement?
  9. 9. Satisfaction with employee voice The study found a lower level of satisfaction with ‘seeking views’ by senior managers compared to line managers. Organisation n Mean* SD Satisfaction** GovOff 276 3.15 0.78 35% CouncilA 167 3.28 0.55 39% FinSvces 1259 3.63 0.72 59% HousAssoc 205 3.50 0.69 59% CouncilB 159 2.81 0.80 28% *Opportunities to feed my views upwards: 1, very dissatisfied, 5 very satisfied. **Percentages are 4 and 5 scores combined.
  10. 10. Responding to suggestions and allowing influence GovOff SM LM CouncA SM LM FinSvcs SM LM HousAssoc SM LM CouncB SM LM Responding to suggestions from employees and representatives 37 50 15 67 63 74 38 66 10 52 Allowing employees and representatives to influence decisions 28 45 7 58 56 68 29 56 6 39 n 276 167 1259 205 159 Notes: 1, very dissatisfied, 5 very satisfied; % is combined 4 and 5 results. SM, Senior Manager. LM, Line Manager. The study found very low levels of satisfaction with senior managers responding and allowing employees to influence decisions in two organisations.
  11. 11. Correlation comparison of employee voice and organisational engagement GovOff CouncA FinSvcs HousAssoc CouncB Average r r r r r r Cognitive .24** .21** .39** .24** .21** .35** Emotional .56** .44** .52** .48** .50** .53** Behavioural .30** .27** .40** .37** .26** .37** n 276 167 1259 205 159 2066 **Correlation is significant at 0.01 level (2-tailed). The average is the combined data set for all five organisations The study consistently found stronger correlations with ‘emotional organisational engagement’ than with cognitive and behavioural engagement.
  12. 12. Employee voice: a possible antecedent to organisational engagement? ORGANISATIONAL ENGAGEMENT Allowing influence Opportunities for voice Responding to suggestions Conclusion
  13. 13. Or is it the other way round? ORGANISATIONAL ENGAGEMENT Allowing influence Opportunities for voice Responding to suggestions
  14. 14. References Farrell, D., 1983. Exit, voice, loyalty, and neglect as responses to job dissatisfaction: A multidimensional scaling study. Academy of management journal, 26(4), pp.596-607. Gruman, J.A., Saks, A. 2014. Being psychologically present when speaking up: employee voice engagement. In Wilkinson et al. (Eds) Handbook of Research on Employee Voice, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited. Hirschman, A.O., 1974. " Exit, voice, and loyalty": Further reflections and a survey of recent contributions. Social Science Information, 13(1), pp.7-26. Kahn, W.A. 1990. Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work. Academy of Management Journal. 33(4), pp.692-724. Reissner, S. and Pagan, V., 2013. Generating employee engagement in a public–private partnership: management communication activities and employee experiences. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(14), pp.2741-2759. Saks, A. M. 2006 Antecedents and consequences of employee engagement. Journal of Managerial Psychology. 21(7), pp.600-619. Schaufeli, W.B. and Bakker, A.B., 2004. Job demands, job resources, and their relationship with burnout and engagement: A multi‐sample study. Journal of organizational Behavior, 25(3), pp.293-315. Van Dyne, L., Ang, S., Botero, I.C. 2003. Conceptualizing Employee Silence and Employee Voice as Multidimensional Constructs. Journal of Management Studies. 40(6), pp.1359-1392. Welch, M. 2011 The evolution of the employee engagement concept: Communication implications, Corporate Communications: An International Journal. 16(4), pp.328-346.

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