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 12: A new voice in China

Erica C. Holley and Keke Wu

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


Defined as a discretionary behavior directed at an authority figure, where employees share their ideas, concerns, and opinions on workplace issues, voice has generally been found to have a positive impact on both employees and organizations (Van Dyne and LePine, 1998; Klaas et al., 2012). For instance, the willingness of team members to offer thoughts and suggestions during problem solving has been found to improve overall group learning (Edmondson, 1999, 2003). Similarly, voice behaviors have been shown to positively influence creativity and reduce group think during decision making (Janis, 1982; Pyman et al., 2006). Additional research by Greenberg (1990) also demonstrated that the expression of voice increases perceptions of fairness and perceived control for employees. Considering the multitude of benefits, there has been a great deal of management research done in order to determine and identify the organizational conditions that promote voice (Detert and Burris, 2007).

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