How to make speaking up in the workplace more effective: exploring the use of interventions

   Management School

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  Dr S Brooks, Dr Adrian Wilkinson, Dr M Patterson  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Project description

The voice and silence literature has predominantly focused on understanding why silence is so prevalent in hierarchical organisations. From these explorations, it has been possible to identify certain influences and contextual situations which shape voice (e.g. a culture of openness and honesty, psychological safety, self-efficacy, autonomy, low power distance). However, to date, there has been scant research which has explicitly explored ways in which those influences and contextual situations can be used in ways that enhance voice in the workplace (e.g. O’Donovan & McAuliffe 2020). The aim of this project is therefore to explore how interventions can be used to provide an evidence base for enhancing voice. 

Example areas of focus might include: How might coaching support employees to voice? Are different types of interventions more suitable for particular types of voice (e.g. prohibitive/promotive)? How do managers and employees differ in their responses to interventions about voice? How can interventions support the development of effective voice systems? 

We envisage the main contributions of this project to be a literature review of interventions which have been shown to increase voice, a number of influences and contextual situations shown to be important for voice effectiveness, the testing of interventions designed to support voice and the development of new theory alongside the production of guidelines to support those designing interventions to enhance voice. More practically, given it is usually line managers who are responsible for encouraging voice in the workplace, recommendations will be provided to them about proven techniques which encourage voice. 

International collaborator(s)

A collaboration between Sheffield University Management School, UK and Griffith University, Australia enables the doctoral candidate to work with Adrian Wilkinson, who holds positions at Griffith University and Sheffield University Management School. He has published widely in the field of HRM and voice and silence. Adrian visits SUMS twice per year and therefore, a meaningful face-to-face relationship with him will be established early in the PhD scholarship. The candidate would be encouraged to apply to the Australia and New Zealand Academy of Management conference (ANZAM) held in December/January of each year and combine this with a visit to Griffith University.

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