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Voice: It´s the timing that counts

The more change is needed the more employees´ inputs become matchwinners



The Ukraine-war, rising prices in the energy field, inflation and the climate issue: almost any organization is facing increasing exogenous threats. In this context two subsequential connecting studies in the US which have gone into depth with “voice” as a success factor in times of change gain major attention. The conclusion: it´s the Timing that counts.
Accordingly supports prohibitive voice in the beginning of any crisis (disruptive stage) when managerial errors have to be avoided. On the other hand promotive voice when innovative ideas by the staff are brought up does have its particular positive effects during the socalled recovery stage.
And: the more change is needed, the more an existing culture of voice makes the differences whether an organization succees or fails. The American scientists therefore recommend to accept voice beside leadership and the composition of teams as relevant for crisis resilience, too.
Li/Tangirala, “How employees´ voice helps remain resilient in the face of exogenous change”, in: Journal of Applied Psychology, 07/2022, pg. 668 – 692.

From the practice:

Let me add and differentiate:
1. In any accurate threat top management is well advised to invite personell to prohibitive voice – meeting by meeting. It seldomly comes by itself. 2. To generate promotive voice it most often needs separate platforms like team workshops – jour fixes are definitely the wrong format. 3. „Culture of voice“ does not mean grassroots democracy which is proven to be fatal in the times of crisis. In light of these new academic findings superior should give employees voice specifically – at the right time and with the right direction.

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