Academic journal article Business and Economics Research Journal

Big Five Personality Traits and Organizational Dissent: The Moderating Role of Organizational Climate

Academic journal article Business and Economics Research Journal

Big Five Personality Traits and Organizational Dissent: The Moderating Role of Organizational Climate

Article excerpt

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine which personality traits explain the amount of variance in organizational dissent and whether organizational climate has a moderating role on the relationship between personality traits and organizational dissent. A convenience sampling was used and 527 Turkish participants completed the survey questionnaire. The results show that conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience personality traits explain the variance in upward dissent. In addition, extraversion and emotional stability contribute to displaced dissent whereas emotional stability predicts the variance in latent dissent. Moreover, humanistic climates have a moderating role on the relationship between conscientiousness and upward dissent. On the other hand, formalization climates have a moderating effect between extraversion and displaced dissent. Overall, the results support the association between personality and employee dissent and the partial moderating role of organizational climate on this relationship. Organizations may utilize the results in their efforts to create an organizational climate that supports the expression of different ideas and thoughts. Organizational leaders may apply the study outcomes about role of employee personality and organizational climate to motivate employees' upward dissent.

Keywords: Organizational dissent, employee dissent, organizational climate, big five, Turkish culture.

JEL Classification: M10, M12, M14, D23

1. Introduction

Expression of unwanted truth and dissent can be quite challenging, which has become an issue even in tales. In Andersen's "The Emperor's New Clothes" tale (Andersen, 1837) for instance, everybody was afraid to say that the Emperor was wearing nothing. The King's subjects were afraid of being seen as unfit for their positions or stupid; thus, only a child was able to say that the Emperor was naked. Even though this is a fairy tale, the examples of such avoidance to express unwanted truth or contradictory opinions can still be seen in today's organizations. In fact, studies indicate that employees are often unwilling to speak up in the face of concerns or problems (Morrison & Milliken, 2000; Edmondson & Munchus, 2007). Thus, this research aims to investigate the relationship between employee dissent and the Big Five personality dimensions, and whether organizational climate has a moderating influence on this relationship.

Dissent is often considered as deviant behavior and its expression challenges the norms of the organizations (Payne, 2007). Expressing the unwanted truth, disagreeing with the boss, or delivering bad news is seen as contaminating the bearer (Wilson & Harrison, 2001). The most common reason seen in the literature for failure to speak up is the fear of retaliation (Sprague & Ruud, 1988). On the other hand, it is crucial for organizations to listen to their employees and embrace their opinions and feelings. Top managers need information from employees at lower levels in the organization to be able to respond appropriately to dynamic conditions, make good decisions, and correct issues before they rise. In addition, groups need honest input from their members to perform effectively and make good decisions (Morrison, 2011).

As a specific form of employee voice, organizational dissent can be defined as the expression of disagreement or contradictory opinions about one's organization (Kassing, 1997). Dissent research points that employees choose dissent strategies under consideration of a complex set of factors (Kassing, 2000a). Kassing (1997) stated that employee dissent strategy selection is influenced by individual, relational, and organizational factors. Concerning organizational factors, dissent research has repeatedly pointed that organizational cultures and climates foster or hinder dissent (Graham, 1986; Hegstrom, 1990; Kassing, 1998; Kassing, 2000a). In addition to the effects of organizational climate on variables such as individual motivation (Litwin and Stringer, 1968), organizational performance and employee job satisfaction (Lawler et al. …

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