Author(s), Title and Publication
Wijaya, N. H. S. (2019). Proactive Personality, LMX, and Voice Behavior: Employee–Supervisor Sex (Dis) similarity as a Moderator. Management Communication Quarterly33(1), 86-100. doi: 10.1177/0893318918804890

Employees’ voice behavior refers to employees’ verbal communication that usually challenges the status quo in order to enhance the work environment. Research suggests that employees’ voice behavior contributes to team effectiveness and overall organizational performance. However, it is also seen as a risky action because it could result in employee career impediment and negative self-image. Research has identified factors such as self-esteem and personality which influence voice behaviors, but seldomly explored the process through which individuals’ personality can affect their voice behavior. Therefore, the author of this study aimed to explore the relationship between employees’ proactive personality, leader-member exchange (LMX) quality, and voice behavior. Employees’ proactive personality describes the inclination to taking actions to challenge the work environment, while LMX refers to the quality of an employee-supervisor relationship. Furthermore, employee-supervisor sex (dis)similarity was examined in this study, and sex dissimilarity was proposed to degrade employees’ voice behavior in a low-quality LMX relationship.

Employees’ voice behavior, proactive personality, LMX relationship, and employee-supervisor sex (dis)similarity were evaluated via a questionnaire distributed among employees in Indonesia. With a valid sample of 215 respondents, the author confirmed his hypotheses. Frist, there was a proactive relationship between proactive personality and employees’ voice behavior. Additionally, the more employees demonstrated proactive personality, the more they reported higher LMX relationship, which in turn led to more voice behavior. More specifically, compared to non-proactive employees, proactive employees were more motivated to build quality relationships with their supervisors and more likely to receive the same positive responses from their supervisors. This positive LMX relationships further promoted constructive employee behaviors such as various extra-role behaviors (e.g., organizational citizenship behavior) and voice behavior. The positive relationship between quality LMX and voice behavior can be explained: employees who perceive good LMX relationships would reduce their perception of risks related to challenging the organization’s status quo, and they are more willing to focus on the overall interests of the organization. Finally, the author identified that employees working with supervisors of dissimilar sex reported a higher level of voice behavior under high-quality LMX relationships. In contrast, dissimilar sex led to less voice behavior under low-quality LMX relationships. It is consistent with prior work suggesting that team diversity is beneficial if they are enacted in a supportive environment.

Implications for Practice
Organizations should (1) rely on proactive employees to enhance organizational learning capability, adaptability, and creativity, (2) encourage team leaders to build high-quality relationships with subordinates, and (3) realize the potential advantages of employee-supervisor sex dissimilarity in a high-quality LMX environment.

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