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Title: From the horse's mouth : how people talk about voice and silence at work
Author: Holloway, Mark Raymond
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 8279
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2016
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The overall aim of this research was to address the core problem that organisations appear to make decisions based on incomplete information. Although many organisations invite their staff to give voice, people may choose to remain silent at work and not voice their opinions, comments and suggestions. This research tried to shed some light on this problem by asking how people talk about voice and silence at work and by investigating the conditions under which they speak out or keep quiet. This research project, which used Morrison's (2011) definition and model of employee voice as a conceptual framework, was conducted from a Critical Realist perspective and adopted a Mixed Methods approach in order to triangulate the data across the project. Study One used Q Method to gather data from 80 working adults who completed an on-line survey by rank-ordering 50 statements about voice and silence at work. The data were analysed using Centroid Factor Analysis and the factors identified were then orthogonally rotated to produce 5 factors that, together, accounted for 48% of the common variance in respondents' viewpoints. These factors described the benefits of voice, the risks attached to speaking out, the problems of thinking differently, the value of sharing knowledge and the importance of having good ideas. Study Two explored these factors further and used Thematic Analysis to interpret the data from interviews with 15 participants who worked at various levels for a UK trade union and professional body. This analysis produced 5 main themes, which described how key people and a climate of sensitivity affected voice, how voice moved around the organisation in unpredictable ways, how voice could be packaged to get it heard, how senior managers, long servers and people with certain dispositions were heard more, and how being heard or unheard impacted on people's behaviour and, by inference, on the organisation as a whole. The main implications of this research for work organisations and occupational psychologists are that the climate of the workplace and the systems and processes in place for voice could mean that certain types of people and certain sorts of messages are heard more readily than others. This could lead organisations to make decisions based on incomplete information and could lead to the disengagement of those people who are not heard. Future research is recommended into the influence of context and individual differences on voice, and the impact on people at work when their voice is not welcomed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available