Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Jimmy Donaghey, Tony Dundon and Richard B. Freeman
Chapter 26: Diversity management and missing voices
Much of the literature on employee voice assumes that workers are homogeneous, and voice vehicles are designed in a very generic way. However, organizations are dominated by and voice vehicles are generally designed for mainstream employees (for example, white Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, heterosexual persons in the UK, USA and Australia). Workers are diverse, and their opportunity and propensity to voice may vary by gender, race, sexuality and so on. These voices may be missing in the workplace or they may express themselves in different ways. Depending upon the national or organizational context, there may be voices that are not heard or situations in which there is little in the shape of vehicles to enhance such voices. In particular, diverse employees' perspectives and insights may remain ignored, suppressed or missing in decision-making in organizations. This chapter offers a critical review of the literature covering missing voices in organizations. It identifies diversity management as a missing theoretical paradigm in the literature on employee voice, and illustrates the cases of women, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons and ethnic minorities in the workplace. The chapter is structured as follows. First it examines the notion of employee voice and also explains various vehicles or mechanisms used to enable employee voice. It then describes the notions of missing voices and diversity and looks at the reasons why diverse employees' voices may be missing, suppressed or ignored in organizations.
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