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Encouraging work group voice : exploring how interventions can contribute to developments in work group voice

Willemsma, T.A. (2014) Encouraging work group voice : exploring how interventions can contribute to developments in work group voice.

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Abstract:This study aimed to explore how employee voice can be encouraged and facilitated successfully, by examining how interventions can contribute to developments in work group voice. Although organizations already try to encourage and facilitate voice, they experience difficulties changing employee voice and silence behaviors. Current literature explains that employees’ decisions to express voice or remain silent are often made unconscious or irrational and are partly based upon emotion or implicit beliefs about voice. Consequently, literature indicates that stimulating individual or collective sensemaking processes might be important to encourage and facilitate voice successfully. Hence, the present study explored ‘if’ and ‘how’ several group interventions, that stimulate both individual and collective sensemaking, can contribute to positive developments in work group voice. An action research method, with (focus group) interviews, observations, diaries and surveys as interventions, was used to study work group voice developments and development processes in three different work teams. Findings show ‘that’ and ‘how’ different interventions resulted in positive developments in work group voice for every participating team. They show how interventions contributed to more awareness, more insights, reflection upon current beliefs or behaviors, and/or (intentions for) behavioral change, for both team leaders and team members in every participating team. Additionally, findings provide insights into the elements of the development process for work group voice, and how those affect teams with a different starting position in work group voice. Those findings show that indeed both individual and collective sensemaking processes are important for the development of voice beliefs and behaviors. Besides, those findings indicate that work group voice can develop in three different ways, through a positive change in either voice environment, employee voice beliefs or employee voice behaviors, thereby ‘taking a positive step along a work group voice continuum’ from a team’s starting position in work group voice. At last, findings show that all different interventions were important for a contribution towards development in work group voice. In sum, the results of this study indicate that it is important to use a combination of different interventions, and to focus upon specific areas of development fitting a team’s starting position in work group voice, to encourage and facilitate work group voice successfully.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/65796
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