This study examines whether and how constructive voice (i.e., suggestions intended to promote positive changes at work) is contagious. Guided by social cognitive theory, we propose that witnessing a co-worker’s voice increases an employee’s propensity to engage in voice via two parallel psychological mechanisms: voice self-efficacy beliefs and voice instrumentality beliefs. Data collected from a vignette experiment (N = 661), an experience-recall experiment (N = 548), and a field study (N = 549) provide evidence supporting the proposed voice contagion. The results also suggest that voice contagion is activated by witnessing the voice of any co-worker, as the evidence supported voice contagion even when controlling for employees’ evaluations of co-workers’ warmth and competence. Thus, this study contributes to the voice literature by identifying social learning from co-worker voice as a crucial relational antecedent of employee voice and revealing two possible processes by which voice spreads in the workplace.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Business and International Management
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation