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One of the strongest and most important outcomes of trait social courage is employee voice, but researchers have only studied this relationship with unidimensional conceptualizations of voice. The purpose of this paper is to apply Van Dyne et al.’s (2003) three-dimensional conceptualization of voice, which also distinguishes three dimensions of silence, to provide a nuanced understanding of the relationship of social courage with voice and silence. The authors also test for the moderating effect of three contextual influences: top management attitudes toward voice and silence, supervisor attitudes toward voice and silence, as well as communication opportunities.Design/methodology/approachThe authors conducted a four-timepoint survey with each measurement occasion separated by one week. A total of 134 participants completed all four timepoints.FindingsThe results support that social courage positively relates to prosocial voice and silence, whereas it negatively relates to defensive voice and silence as well as acquiescent voice and silence. In other words, social courage positively relates to beneficial voice and silence as well as negatively relates to detrimental voice and silence. The results also failed to support any moderating effects, suggesting that the relationships of social courage are very resilient to outside forces.Practical implicationsThese findings both test prior results and discover new relationships of social courage, which can further stress the importance of courage. The authors also draw direct connections between the influence of social courage on the surrounding workplace environment – as well as the influences of the environment on social courage. While the current paper provides insights into social courage, it also directs future researchers toward new insights of their own.Originality/valueCourage is an emergent research topic within organizations. While many authors have assumed that courage is important to work, the current paper is among the few to empirically support this notion.
Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 31, 2020
Keywords: Motivation; Organization citizenship behaviour; Voice; Courage; Prosocial behaviours; Social courage
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