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 26: Diversity management and missing voices

Jawad Syed


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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