Public versus Private Voice: The Role of Social Setting in Explaining Managerial Reactions to Employee Voice

Sofya Isaakyan

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

1729 Downloads (Pure)


Having employees who openly express their ideas, opinions or concerns is imperative for effective organizational functioning. Yet, managers do not always welcome employee voice and may react in dysfunctional ways. This dissertation studies how the social setting in which voice occurs – public versus private – may shape managers’ reactions to voice. Findings of this dissertation suggest that public voice is associated with enhanced image concerns that make managers less likely to react favorably to employee voice. At the same time, employees who have a general tendency to voice publicly (vs. privately) still have a higher capacity to bring about change to their work-group or organization in the long run. Furthermore, managers should be cognizant that their close, trusting employees, instead of openly discussing emerging issues, ideas, and suggestions in public settings, tend to bring up the issues in private, irrespective of whether the managers come across as more or less open to public voice.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Zijlstra, Fred, Supervisor
  • Günter, Hannes, Co-Supervisor
Award date1 Jun 2018
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789462959590
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • employee voice
  • public settings
  • image threat
  • manager openness

Cite this