Effects of message, source, and context on evaluations of employee voice behavior

Steven W. Whiting, Timothy D. Maynes, Nathan P. Podsakoff, Philip M. Podsakoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

197 Scopus citations


Although employee voice behavior is expected to have important organizational benefits, research indicates that employees voicing their recommendations for organizational change may be evaluated either positively or negatively by observers. A review of the literature suggests that the perceived efficacy of voice behaviors may be a function of characteristics associated with the (a) source, (b) message, and (c) context of the voice event. In this study, we manipulated variables from each of these categories based on a model designed to predict when voice will positively or negatively impact raters' evaluations of an employee's performance. To test our model, we conducted 3 laboratory studies in which we manipulated 2 source factors (voicer expertise and trustworthiness), 2 message factors (recommending a solution and positively vs. negatively framing the message), and 2 context factors (timing of the voice event and organizational norms for speaking up vs. keeping quiet). We also examined the mediating effects of liking, prosocial motives, and perceptions that the voice behavior was constructive on the relationships between the source, message, and context factors and performance evaluations. Generally speaking, we found that at least one of the variables from each category had an effect on performance evaluations for the voicer and that most of these effects were indirect, operating through one or more of the mediators. Implications for theory and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-182
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Challenge-oriented organizational citizenship behavior
  • Employee voice behavior
  • Liking
  • Performance evaluations
  • Trustworthiness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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