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Employee Voice Origin and Its Role in the Decision-Making Process - Essay Example

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This paper 'Employee Voice Origin and Its Role in the Decision-Making Process" focuses on the fact that employee voice refers to the participation of employees in organizations’ decision-making process. Traditionally, organizations used trade unions as the primary mechanism for employee voice. …
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Employee Voice Origin and Its Role in the Decision-Making Process
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Download file to see previous pages An organization needs to gain workforce commitment by enabling them to have a voice on matters that affect them. Employees have, therefore, been empowered through involvement and participation in organizational decision making the process by the use of direct or indirect voice mechanisms. The paper will discuss the employee voice mechanisms in use today and the outcome of such mechanisms for workers. The employee voice literature began with Hirschman in the 1970s and was further popularized by Freeman and Medoff in the 1980s. Dundon et al (2005) view employee voice as an articulation of individual dissatisfaction, expression of collective organization, contribution to decision making, and mutuality. To articulate dissatisfaction, an individual has only two options according to Hirschman’s exit-voice theory; he can decide to exit or stay and fight from within by voicing his concerns. Hirschman (1970:30) therefore refers to voice as ‘any attempt at all to change rather than escape from an objectionable state of affairs whether through individual or collective petition to management’.  It is assumed that the labour market is competitive thus if an individual is not satisfied with an employer’s terms and conditions he can always move to a new employer. This, in turn, impels the management to review their practices and make amends to avoid more exits. However, a loyal employee opts to remain in the organization and compel the management to change the terms instead of quitting. 
The role of management is to provide voice mechanisms for workers so as to air their opinions. Freeman and Medoff (1984) built on Hirschman’s theory of exit-voice to emphasize the importance of having a collective voice in organizations, especially through trade unions. This form of voice mechanism entails negotiations between employees and employer through the union and has many advantages. The union helps to reduce exits hence the retention of qualified staff thus minimising on hiring and training costs. The employment contracts negotiated through collective bargaining also protect the employees’ interests thus enhancing cooperation and job security. The union can also assist the management in the introduction of new work practices thus minimising resistance to change (Bennett & Kaufman, 2007). However, unions also can manage to force the organization to increase wages above competitive levels hence a loss to the company. Moreover, most of the workers organized in unions are dissatisfied with their jobs since the union leaders raise their job outcome expectations beyond what is realistic. According to Rose (2007), there is an increased decline in unionisation as new sectors emerge hence making unions unrepresentative of employee voice. Many organizations are non-unionized and apply alternative voice mechanisms such as communication, training and development, attitude surveys, financial participation, and quality circles. However, employee voice is driven by various factors. The availability of voice mechanisms in the organization is a key driver of voice as employees can utilise various means to air their grievances but management support is required.
For example, the management can put up suggestion boxes to get their opinions and adopt a culture of tolerance (Dundon et al. 2005).  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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