Against voice : towards organizational democracy

Cathcart, Abby (2008) Against voice : towards organizational democracy. In 3rd Australasian Caucus of the Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism, 26-28 November 2008, School of Management, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney.

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The concept of employee voice is currently enjoying a period of great popularity and is the subject of a great deal of academic writing and debate. During the 1980’s voice became popular when companies recognised it as a mechanism to detect problems and conflicts at an early stage (Dundon and Gollan, 2007:1183). It has been suggested that voice mechanisms are an important way of ensuring employee commitment, and the term has also been linked to conceptions of industrial citizenship and employee rights (Wilkinson et al. 2004:299). Over the last twenty years, there has been a significant decline in writing about employee participation and organisational democracy, and a steady increase in papers on employee voice. This paper will argue that although employee voice is clearly the preferred contemporary term for concepts that have been previously referred to as participation, involvement and even empowerment, the concept of voice should be challenged rather than embraced by critical management scholars. It is suggested that voice should not be viewed as a new management (and academic) fad, or simply as a ‘rebranding’ of other theoretical concepts, but as a dilution of, and an attack upon, more radical conceptions of participation at work.

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ID Code: 19035
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: Organizational Democracy, Voice, Employee
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Business and Management not elsewhere classified (150399)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Business Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 23 Mar 2009 23:15
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2011 23:32

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