Voicing Is Costly, but Team Can Change That: A Three-Wave Study on Employee “Voice” through the Lens of the Theory of Planned Behavior

Masaki Matsunaga


Despite the rich literature on employee “voice”—an organizational behavior of speaking up with intentions toimprove one’s work processes—the underlying structure that integrates the effects of related factors has yet to beexplored. In addition, previous studies almost exclusively focus on whether organizational members speak up,leaving the issue of how they communicate their “voice” unattended. To address those limitations, this studyexamined three-wave longitudinal data collected from 539 full-timers working at 106 enterprises in Japan, usingmulti-level structural equation modeling (ML-SEM) and latent profile analyses (LPA). The ML-SEM resultsindicated that: (a) perceived cost-benefit balances and subjective norms (but not communication efficacy), as well asleader-member exchange (LMX), are associated with “voice” intentions; (b) LMX quality’s effects are partiallymediated via psychological factors; and (c) group-level LMX differentiation added to the model’s explanatory powerabove and beyond the individual-level predictors. Additionally, LPA detected five distinct patterns of employee“voice” communication (or lack thereof). Those analyses revealed that direct communication is rather atypical, andmany individuals utilize indirect strategies, such as only disclosing parts of their opinions first to test the water ortelling colleagues who they think will eventually convey revealed ideas to leaders.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/mos.v4n1p10


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Management and Organizational Studies  ISSN 2330-5495 (Print)  ISSN 2330-5509 (Online)

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