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Followers' constructive voice and leaders' reactions to voice: A self-enhancement perspective

Lei Huang, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

In the past decade, employee voice has attracted much attention in the field of organizational behavior. Voice refers to employees' proposal of ideas and suggestions aiming at improving organizational performance. Yet, to date, very little research has been devoted to the leader outcomes of followers' voice, particularly how leaders react to such voice. Addressing the issue through the lens of the self-enhancement principle, this dissertation advances the voice literature by exploring why leaders react to followers' constructive voice in a more positive vs. negative way. In addition, this study investigates the conditions that influence leaders' different reactions to their followers' constructive voice. Specifically, this study hypothesized a curvilinear relationship between followers' constructive voice and their leaders' attention to voice depending on the leaders' attribution of the followers' prosocial voice motive. Moreover, this study hypothesized two curvilinear moderated mediating mechanisms linking followers' constructive voice with leaders' self-advancing (consultation with followers) and self-protecting (defensive resistance to voice) reactions to followers' voice via leaders' attention to this voice, depending on the leaders' leadership self-efficacy. ^ Using data collected from 289 employees and their 41 managers in a large Chinese consulting company, this study failed to find support for the hypothesized curvilinear relationships. However, the results showed that the followers' constructive voice did have a significantly positive linear effect on their leaders' attention to voice. This effect was stronger when leaders attributed their followers' voice to a greater extent to the followers' prosocial motive. Further supplemental analyses also showed that when leaders felt more confident about their leadership capabilities (i.e., leadership self-efficacy), they were more likely to consult with their followers and less likely to defensively resist such voice. This occurred as the followers' constructive voice increased and leaders paid more attention to such voice. However, when leaders felt less confident about their leadership capabilities, there was no significant indirect effect of followers' constructive voice on leader's consultation or defensive resistance via leaders' attention to such voice. Finally, theoretical and practical implications, limitations of this study, and future research directions are discussed.^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Management

Recommended Citation

Huang, Lei, "Followers' constructive voice and leaders' reactions to voice: A self-enhancement perspective" (2015). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3689468.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3689468

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