Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Management (Business Administration)
Arthur G. Bedeian
Although management scholars and practitioners emphasize the importance of employee input to organizational success, research suggests that many workers are hesitant to express an opinion or voice a view because they fear repercussions. In this dissertation, I focus on the issue of employee workplace expression, introducing the concept of speaking up. I define speaking up as "openly stating one's views or opinions about workplace issues." Speaking up is distinguished from several related concepts that fall within a common construct space. Drawing on expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964) and the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1988, 1991), I explain the process believed to underlie employees' decisions to speak up or remain silent. A conceptual scheme of willingness to speak up is introduced and tested. Several individual (viz., need for achievement, locus of control, self-esteem, self-monitoring, and need for approval) and situational (viz., top-management openness, norms for openness, trust in supervisor, perceived organizational support, and perceived risk of speaking up) antecedents to willingness to speak up are empirically investigated using a sample of telecommunication company employees. The role of one antecedent, the perceived risk of speaking up, is explored as a mediating link between each of the other antecedents and willingness to speak up. Moreover, self-esteem and self-monitoring are examined as possible moderators of these predicted mediated relationships. The results of the investigation lead to a respecification of the conceptual scheme that more heavily incorporates the influence of self-monitoring. In the new conceptual scheme, self-monitoring interacts with two personal attributes (i.e., locus of control and self-esteem), and individual perceptions of three workplace characteristics (i.e., top-management openness, trust in supervisor, and dyadic duration) in predicting speaking up behavior. Results from a series of hierarchical regression analyses indicate that self-monitoring significantly interacts with each set of parent variables such that perceptions of top-management openness, supervisory trustworthiness, and dyadic duration, as well as high self-esteem and internality, are associated with speaking up. Results suggest a need to consider both personal attributes and workplace characteristics to better understand the willingness to speak up.
Premeaux, Sonya Fontenot, "Breaking the Silence: Toward an Understanding of Speaking Up in the Workplace." (2001). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 360.