Voice and Whistleblowing in Organizations

Voice and Whistleblowing in Organizations

Overcoming Fear, Fostering Courage and Unleashing Candour

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Cary L. Cooper

This book examines the decision to speak out in organizations or to keep silent, the roles of fear and courage, and why increasing valid information and truth is central to individual and organizational health. Employees in organizations face countless daily situations in which they make a choice to speak up, exercise voice, or remain silent. Too many choose to remain silent. Others only tell supervisors what they want to hear, becoming ‘yes’ men and women. Expressing one’s voice increases individual health and well-being and enhances learning, quality and timeliness of decision making, work engagement, and ultimately team and organizational success. This volume, containing chapters by international researchers, examines the causes and consequences of exercising voice and ways individuals and organizations can support voice in the workplace.

Chapter 11: Can you hear us now? Women and voice in the workplace

Linda M. Dunn-Jensen and Katherine C. Ryan

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


Of all the workplace changes over the last half-century, perhaps none has redefined organizational life more than the increased presence of women in the workforce. Between 1967 and 2009, the number of women employed full-time rose 28 percent (US Census Bureau, 2010). Women in supervisory and managerial positions have increased by over 18 percent in the US and 7 percent in Canada (Catalyst, 2012a, 2012b) during the last 25 years, and women at the top levels of organizations – though still lagging men – is now almost 16 percent as compared to less than 9 percent as recently as 1995 (Catalyst, 2012c). Not surprisingly, organizational researchers have taken note of women’s increased participation in the workforce and have generated countless studies to identify and measure the impact their presence creates. Of particular importance to those of us who study the intersection of gender and work, is how women make a difference not just through their prescribed organizational roles, but through their extra-role behavior, as well.

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