Handbook of Research on Employee Voice
Show Less

Handbook of Research on Employee Voice

Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Jimmy Donaghey, Tony Dundon and Richard B. Freeman

The term ‘employee voice’ refers to the ways and means through which employees can attempt to have a say and influence organizational issues that affect their work and the interests of managers and owners. The concept is distinct, but related to and often overlapping with issues such as participation, involvement and, more recently, engagement. This Handbook provides an up-to-date survey of the current research into employee voice, sets this research into context and sets a marker for future research in the area.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 4: Employee voice and the transaction cost economics project

Paul Willman, Alex Bryson, Rafael Gomez and Tobias Kretschmer


Transaction costs are, in Arrow's memorable term, the costs of running the economic system (1974: 48). To use Williamson's simple analogy, they are analogous to friction in physical systems (1985: 19). In many forms of positive, mathematical economics, they do not exist, just as frictions are assumed away in the abstract modelling of physical systems. Transaction costs are subversive of pure market models because, by definition, they imply something is not working or that there is a cost (over and above that which is determined by supply-demand conditions) involved in making it work. Voice is at root a transaction cost concept. Markets should work by exit; if consumers or employees are not getting what they want, they should switch supplier or employer. Voice is the obverse of switching. The existence of voice is premised on the empirical observation that people often try to sort out their problems rather than simply finding a better option somewhere else. For Hirschman (1970), there are potentially a large number of such situations in both consumer and labour markets. Moreover, he sees collective voice as more effective than individual voice; but collective voice is difficult to organize, since there are collective action problems. It is not just a matter of what is to be done but a matter of who will do it.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.