Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Management Studies

Linking Perceived Employee Voice and Creativity

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Management Studies

Linking Perceived Employee Voice and Creativity

Article excerpt


The understanding and interpreting of voice has gained significant recognition among practitioners and researchers in recent years. It has been clearly established in the employee voice literature that employees who are of the firm belief that they can openly and freely express their personal opinions and concerns to a higher level in the organization, and who believe that they can influence decision making, are likely to exhibit more positive attitudes, and will demonstrate constructive behaviors (Holland, Pyman, Cooper and Teicher, 2011; Rees, Alfes and Gatenby, 2013). Previous employee voice research has addressed how such practices may affect employees' attitudes and behaviors, such as job satisfaction (Holland et al., 2011), commitment (Farndale, Van Ruiten, Kelliher and Hope-Hailey, 2011), and work engagement (Rees et al., 2013). However, its influence on employees' creativity and the process through which it operates has received scant attention. Creativity is crucial for organizational performance and survival in today's rapidly changing and highly competitive environments (Lopez-Cabrales, Perez-Luno and Cabrera, 2009). It is also essential for work outcomes, innovation, and achieving competitive advantage (Zhou and Shalley, 2008; Zhang and Bartol, 2010), which is why organizations are increasingly seeking to foster individual creativity. Not surprisingly then, scholars are nowadays seeking to understand how to enhance creativity in organizations. We propose that encouraging employees to voice their concerns, grievances and opinions can enhance their work meaningfulness and intrinsic motivation which, in turn, enhances overall creativity.

Our study extends prior research in three important ways. First, the influence of perceived employee voice on creativity has, hitherto, received little attention. Second, studies examining the relationship between employee voice and work meaningfulness are rare. Theoretically and practically, this study explores this relationship. Third, how meaningfulness affects intrinsic motivation has received scarce attention in previous studies. To fill the gap, therefore, this paper is structured as follows. First, the definitions and nature of the research variables are reviewed. Then, some evidence that supports how employee voice may lead to creativity considering the roles of work meaningfulness and intrinsic motivation are provided. Following this, hypotheses are developed. Next, the research methodology and results will be presented. Finally, theoretical and practical implications of the findings will be offered.

Literature Review

Employee Voice

The breakdown in the paradigm of mass production, and the emergence of high-performance work practices (also called high-involvement work practices) that deliver quality, innovation and flexibility, has generated widespread experimentation with a multitude of methods for sharing information, consulting with employees, involving employees in workplace decision making, and soliciting feedback (Budd et al., 2010). According to Lawler and Worley (2006), for a high-involvement work practice to be effective and to have a positive impact on employee performance, employees must be given some power. To this aim, employees must have the opportunity to contribute to decisions that are crucial to their performance and working lives.

Employee voice has traditionally been heard through union representation, but a decline in union membership has revived interest in the importance of voice while also prompting inquiries into alternative channels of voice (Budd et al., 2010). As a result, the notion of voice has broadened away from a single channel of representation, towards one that views it as capable of being articulated through a variety of channels such as union membership and representation, indirect or representative participation mechanisms, and direct employee involvement. Holland et al. (2011) believe that direct voice enables managers to respond better to the heterogenous needs of the workforce, thus generating higher levels of employee engagement and job satisfaction. …

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