One of the less studied aspects of employee voice is the role and influence of the employer. This is both interesting and paradoxical, considering that the employer is central to the operation of voice, in that the employer sets the agenda, creates the internal voice architecture, and develops and maintains the culture and values that surround voice. Within this comprehensive book on voice this chapter seeks to address this issue by exploring the developments of voice in the workplace from the employer perspective. The chapter explores the theoretical perspectives from an employer’s view, and the changing nature of the workplace which has led to increasingly different forms of voice, often within the same workplace. The chapter finishes with a look at the emergence of new forms of voice linked to the increasing use of technology in the 21st century workplace, in particular through social media.
Chris Brewster and Peter Holland
At the start of the fourth industrial revolution, clear signs are emerging as to how outsourcing, artificial intelligence (AI) and the ‘gig’ economy are creating and will create major change in the workplace, with the potential to drive this change deep into highly skilled white-collar jobs in advanced market economies. This is a situation people undertaking these roles and careers never contemplated. These pervading themes hide a significant change – such work is bringing in the fragmentation of the employment relationship and associated aspects of employee well-being and voice. As such, we suggest that the fourth industrial revolution is different from that of previous technological revolutions, and we discuss the implications for those of us who study work and employment. We argue that there are the options to take the high road or a low road to the management of technology, employment and work, and we provide a framework to contribute to this debate.