Author(s), Title and Publication
Ruck, K., Welch, M., & Menara, B. (2017). Employee voice: An antecedent to organizational engagement?. Public Relations Review, 43(5), 904-914.

Employee engagement is increasingly recognized as a contributing factor to effectiveness in innovative and competitive organizations. At the same time, communication has been heavily linked to organizational effectiveness. However, despite the importance of engagement and communication toward positive organizational outcomes, relatively little research has evaluated the relationship between communication and organizational level employee engagement. To close this research gap, the authors explored associations between aspects of internal communication and organizational engagement. A survey of 2066 UK employees investigated employee satisfaction with opportunities to exercise their voice, as well as employee views on the quality of senior management receptiveness to employee voice. Employees were asked to indicate their satisfaction toward upward communication (e.g., opportunities to feed views upwards; ways to pass on criticisms; ways to communicate ideas to senior management), and senior manager receptiveness (e.g., how well managers did at; seeking employee views; responding to employee suggestions; allowing employees to influence decisions). Participants indicated the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements about their organization to establish engagement (cognitive: I’m interested in what happens here; emotional: I care about the future here; behavioral: I put extra energy into helping the organization’s aims).

Analysis indicated a moderately positive level of satisfaction with employee voice, with results for ‘opportunities to feed my views upwards’ and ‘ways for me to communicate ideas to senior managers’ revealing overall higher satisfaction than ‘ways to pass on criticisms.’ Similarly, satisfaction levels were moderately positive regarding senior manager receptiveness in terms of listening and responding to employees. Findings show that satisfaction with ‘senior managers seeking views’ and ‘senior managers responding to suggestions’ is higher overall than satisfaction with ‘senior managers allowing employees/employee representatives to influence final decisions.” Finally, regarding the extent to which employee voice and organizational engagement are linked, while the associations between both dimensions of voice and all three levels of organizational engagement (cognitive, emotional and behavioral) are positive and statistically significant, emotional organizational engagement was most strongly linked to employee voice and manager receptiveness.

Implications for Practice
Organizations should (1) consider incorporating employee voice opportunities, such as “meet the CEO” type events, senior management Q&A sessions, and online events such as facilitated discussions on enterprise social networks, and the analysis of surveys and internal blogs, (2) complement upward employee voice initiatives with strategic efforts to encourage senior manager receptiveness to voice, (3) incorporate communication coaching for senior managers to enable them to seek and respond to employee views.

Location of Article
This article is available online at: (abstract free, purchase full article)

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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