Managing to stay in the dark: Managerial self-efficacy, ego defensiveness, and the aversion to employee voice

Nathanael J. Fast, Ethan Burris, Caroline A Bartel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 52 Citations

Abstract

Soliciting and incorporating employee voice is essential to organizational performance, yet some managers display a strong aversion to improvement-oriented input from subordinates. To help to explain this maladaptive tendency, we tested the hypothesis that managers with low managerial self-efficacy (that is, low perceived ability to meet the elevated competence expectations associated with managerial roles) seek to minimize voice as a way of compensating for a threatened ego. The results of two studies support this idea. In a field study (Study 1), managers with low managerial self-efficacy were less likely than others to solicit input, leading to lower levels of employee voice. A follow-up experimental study (Study 2) showed that: (a) manipulating low managerial self-efficacy led to voice aversion (that is, decreased voice solicitation, negative evaluations of an employee who spoke up, and reduced implementation of voice); and (b) the observed voice aversion associated with low managerial self-efficacy was driven by ego defensiveness. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings, as well as highlight directions for future research on voice, management, and leadership.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages1013-1034
Number of pages22
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Volume57
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

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Personnel
Managers
Employee voice
Self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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Managing to stay in the dark : Managerial self-efficacy, ego defensiveness, and the aversion to employee voice. / Fast, Nathanael J.; Burris, Ethan; Bartel, Caroline A.

In: Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 57, No. 4, 01.01.2014, p. 1013-1034.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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