This summary is provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center.

Employees’ communicative behaviors are considered a more credible source by external audiences than the organization’s official communication. Employees’ negative words about their organizations, also known as employees’ negative megaphoning, can damage corporate reputation when such negative aspects of the organization are transmitted to external audiences. As employees tend to talk negatively about their organization and management to people in their networks, it is crucial for communication practitioners and organizational leaders to identify when and why employees engage in these behaviors to manage these situations effectively. To this end, this study examined how employees’ perception of a quality relationship with the organization reduces their negative megaphoning behaviors and how employees’ negative experiences promote such behavior. Moreover, this study revealed that unfair treatment at work could be a significant cause of employees’ unpleasant experiences at work, leading to employees’ negative behaviors.

A total of 403 employees from Qualtrics panels were surveyed. The participants were full-time employees in the U.S. working for organizations with a Glassdoor page. Of the final respondents, 45.4% were female, and 54.6% were male. The average respondent was 36 years old. Approximately 53% of the participants had worked for their company for over four years. Additionally, 50.6% worked for organizations with more than 250 employees.

Key Findings
1.) Employees’ perception of quality relationships with the organization can effectively decrease employees’ negative megaphoning behaviors in anonymous online channels.
2.) When employees experience negative emotions at work, such as anger, contempt, disgust, and fear, they are more likely to share bad aspects of their organization externally, internally, and on anonymous online channels (i.e., Glassdoor).
3.) Employees’ negative experiences can undermine the relationship between employees and their organizations.
4.) Employees’ perceptions of injustice can erode the employee-organization relationships and increase the likelihood of employees feeling anger, anxiety, or frustration.

Implications for Practice
Organizations should 1.) treat employees with respect and dignity and offer rewards and benefits equal to their contributions, 2.) identify and proactively prevent any issues that make employees feel that they are mistreated, and 3.) provide training interventions helping organizational leaders understand the importance of fair and just decision-making and employee treatment as crucial elements for reducing employees’ motivation to engage in negative communication behaviors.

Lee, Y. (2021). Employees’ Negative Megaphoning in Response to Organizational Injustice: The Mediating Role of Employee–Organization Relationship and Negative Affect. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-15.

Location of Article
This article is available online here.

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