Handbook of Research on Employee Voice
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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.
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Chapter 9: Employers and voice

Peter Holland


Despite the extensive research in recent times on the nature of employee voice, little attention has been given to the changing dynamics of voice from the employers' perspective. Considering employers are central to voice, set the agenda and develop and maintain the culture and values that surround voice, it seems unusual that this perspective has not received more attention. This chapter attempts to address this issue by exploring the developments of voice in the workplace from the employer perspective. The chapter begins with an exploration of the theoretical perspectives around participation from an employer point of view. The chapter then examines the contemporary workplace and provides an overview of the key changes that have taken place over the past three decades, including work deregulation, and the rise of human resource management strategies. This is followed by an analysis of the various types of voice that an employer can adopt and the potential benefits and drawbacks associated with each. Finally, the chapter analyses why a strategic fit between voice and management style is critical in the context of key employment indicators such as job satisfaction, turnover and trust. The features of organizations are also examined, including sector and size, country and regulations as key factors in influencing the style and structure of voice systems adopted by management. The chapter concludes with a brief analysis of future issues to consider in the development of efficient and effective voice systems.

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