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Representative voice in different organizational contexts: a study of 40 departments of a Dutch child-care organization

Pauksztat, B. and R. Wittek (2011). Representative Voice in Different Organizational Contexts: A Study of 40 Departments of a Dutch Childcare Organization. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 22 (10-12), 2222-2244.

‘Representative voice’ can be defined as actions in which one or more speakers represent others when speaking up about a problem at the workplace or making a suggestion. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the concept of representative voice, assess the frequency of its occurrence, and examine department characteristics associated with its frequency. We present a theoretical framework and develop and test hypotheses about the effects of characteristics of the departmental context on the frequency of representative voice. Our focus is on organizational design features, i.e. characteristics that can be directly implemented by management. Data on 40 departments of a large Dutch child-care organization suggested that representative voice occurred in most of the organization’s departments, although not frequently. Multilevel analyses showed that representative voice was best predicted by the presence of shared problems. Further, representative voice was more frequent in departments in which employees worked directly with clients (i.e., children), and in larger departments. Frequent contact with the department’s manager and among a department’s employees had no effect.

Keywords: Contact frequency; hierarchical regression analysis; organizational design; representative voice; social dilemma

Rafael Wittek,
Jun 12, 2014, 12:33 AM