Overcoming Fear, Fostering Courage and Unleashing Candour
New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 5: Decision making in work teams: the role of voice
In many team contexts, exercising voice – or speaking up behaviors – can improve team process gains and performance. There are many instances of team members voicing suggestions, concerns, or ideas that lead to successful outcomes. For example, Google defines its organizational culture as one “in which everyone is a hands-on contributor and feels comfortable sharing ideas and opinions” (Google, n.d.). Google has been a pioneer in innovation for the past decade, and much of its success may be due to a less hierarchical structure that enables employees to exercise voice in all discussions. The positive impact of voice can be seen in the areas of health care, aviation, and sports, just to name a few. In a healthcare context, lives can be saved if nurses feel comfortable telling a surgeon that they perceive an error in the operating room. Similarly, a disaster can be avoided if a co-pilot properly expresses concern to the pilot while in flight. What if these individuals did not feel they were able to freely exercise voice to their team?
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