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Using the below information - In one paragraph, why is it important for employees to have a voice in an organization?
The Importance of Employee Voice
These serious ethical treatment issues place tremendous pressure on employees. Executives and managers possess a Christian deontological obligation to protect employee interests and integrity. When there is a violation of fiduciary obligation, employees must make difficult decisions to address their cognitive and affective ethical dissonance. Organizational dynamics frequently place significant barriers to a righteous organizational response. A major factor that influences an employee’s course of action is the degree of employee loyalty to the organization (see the work of Hirschman, 1970). When loyalty is low, employees are more likely to embrace either active or passive exit. Active exit is leaving the organization, while passive exit entails a “checking-out” at work as the employee psychologically disengages thereby reducing job effort and performing at a minimum level. When loyalty is high, the employee is more likely to attempt voice, or an active process of intervention to change the organization. Employee voice is effective when the following three conditions are present: (1) there exists an effective means to express employee discontent; (2) the organization possesses the time and resources to change direction, and (3) the organization possesses self-interested reasons to take seriously employee attempts at voice and exit (Hirschman, 1970).
There is an inherent dilemma at both the employee and customer levels. Organizational loyalty is a function of trust, and reflects a cumulative form of psychic capital that can cause employees to overlook the ethical implication of a policy. Hence, employees may overlook or rationalize away misgivings based upon their confidence in the intentions of the organization (psychological trust). In other words, they are excessively liberal in giving the organization the benefit of the doubt. For voice to be credible, there needs to be a legitimate perceived threat of exit. When employees possess few employment options, or are subject to easy replacement, voice is muted. The same thing occurs at the customer level if new clients readily replace dissatisfied customers. As Christian servant leaders, it is our God-honoring duty to actively seek employee voice and hold ourselves accountable irrespective of the bargaining power held by employees. The best-practice Christian and secular companies possess many formal and informal policies and practices (360-degree feedback systems, employee empowerment, suggestion systems, among others) to increase employee input in order to promote the organization’s long-term well-being and interests. When organizations embrace employee voice, a bountiful crop of goodwill is harvested, thereby enhancing organizational problem solving and learning.
There are two categories of employee responses to a stressful superior–subordinate relationship. The first dimension relates to coping strategies that provide internal psychological adaptations to the stressful situation. For example, there is a calming influence by acknowledging and agreeing with scriptural promises that “all things work out for the best for those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). We may have little to no influence regarding the external situation, but we can influence how we react. This is a fertile area for Christian growth through the implementation of applied sanctification principles that contribute to character development (dying to the self). The second dimension relates to what stress researchers term “adaptive responses” that entail changing the external environment through a physical or interpersonal intervention such as engaging in a principled negotiation strategy (Jex, 1998). As Christian employees and managers, we need to develop a career management toolkit inventory of coping and adaptive strategies.
A key factor is identifying the underlying mutual interests that meet the legitimate needs of manager and employee. A third dimension for thought is the
development of institutional safeguards to reduce the frequency of dysfunctional work relationships. Christian servant leaders proactively reduce employee stress through a variety of organizational practices.
Another key element that contributes to the violation of employee rights in the workplace is abusive supervisors. Managers who terrorize subordinates, clients, and other stakeholders impose great costs in terms of employee well-being and organizational effectiveness. The presence and influence of “rogue” managers erodes employee trust and increases vulnerability to lawsuits. SLHRM organizations address this issue through such means as 360-degree feedback systems with subordinate appraisals. Federal Express (FedEx) is a “best practice” organization in the use of 360-degree feedback, as managers cannot advance or receive pay increases with poor subordinate assessments (FedEx, 2013). In addition, the organization must clearly reinforce through all aspects of the HR system (selection, training, promotion, retention, performance appraisal) that employees must be treated with dignity and respect and supervisors who abuse employees will not be retained. Of course, the same level of accountability is important with employees given the widespread presence of employee abuse, bullying, and harassment.
The notion of voice has precisely laid many employment relations concepts in HRM. Hirschman in 1970 introduced this concept with reference to customer-company relations in an existing market. Managers possess a moral duty to create an organizational environment that intensifies the employee-organization relation and leads to higher productivity & performance at work.
The employee voice means employees involvement in organizational activities in form of opinion, complaints, suggestions, feedbacks & concerns. This benefits an organization in form of employees’ satisfaction & organizational development. In absence of this, the employees may face emotional and rational dilemma of addressing their issues in a specific direction. This may impact employees’ loyalties towards the organization as well. The keys to the effective employees voice are – proper channel of expression of issue; organizational resources & time to make alterations to the situation; right decision to cure the situation.
The issue arises when employees show excessive amount of loyalty that makes them overlook ethical aspects of a decision. It reduces the integrity of that decision. This sometimes comes because of threat of replacement. Same occurs in case of customers. This situation can be altered if the leader actively engages employees in feedback mechanism & values employees’ voice indecision-making process. This will help in growth and goodwill of the organization. In absence of this right – employees have the option of either adapt to the environment as it is. Or, negotiate to intervene for the good of self and the organization. A servant-leader works to focus on the organizational functions that achieve results without distressing the employees. The concept of abusive leader leads to loosing the trust and inputs of employees in long run. This negatively impacts an organization’s performance. In order to succeed, the organizations must make continuous efforts to treat employees with dignity and respect and give preference to their voice.
‘voice’ as part of their analytical frameworks
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