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Institute of Advanced Study

Professor Xu Huang (Yuk Wong)

COFUND Senior Research Fellow at Josephine Butler College, Durham University (October - December 2014)

Prof Xu Huang is from the Department of Management and Marketing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and currently is a Senior Editor, Asia Pacific Journal of Management as well as a member of the editorial board of Management and Organization Review. His research accomplishments have been recognised by his peers as reflected in his editorial responsibilities.

Speak up? And How? The Joint Effects of Issue Importance, Managerial Openness, and Leaders’ Positive Mood on Employee Voice and Voice Tactics

Extant voice research has focused mainly on the conditions under which employees speak up, but we have limited knowledge about how employees speak up. This study examines not only voice but also employee voice tactics, defined as various manners employees use to express concerns to or share suggestions with their leaders. Based on the upward communication literature, Prof Huang proposes that voice and voice tactics are influenced by the messages' characteristics and the leaders' stable and temporal characteristics. Specifically, Prof Huang examined the joint effects of issue importance, managerial openness, and leaders’ positive mood on employee voice and voice tactics. Using two-wave data from 232 supervisor-subordinate dyads collected in a firm in China, it was found that employees were most likely to speak up and to use public and formal voice tactics when three conditions were met simultaneously:

(1) the issue was important;

(2) leaders were open to employee voice; and

(3) leaders had a positive mood. 

Since employees’ voice behaviour may be shaped by their cultural values, in order to examine the generalizability of our initial findings, the Fellowship will attempt to collect data in the UK to see whether this model could be replicated in the UK and to further extend the theoretical model.

The strong research design of the study (multi-source, full panel longitudinal design) and comparative nature (UK and PRC data) has strong potential to lead to internationally leading outputs in journals such as Journal of Applied Psychology, Academy of Management Journal etc. The project fits well with an increasing area of strength in the school in Organizational Behaviour/ Management with professorial appointments in this area over the last year alone including Professor Ed Snape, Professor Bob Lord, Professor Hall, and Professor Hyde. The quality of the project also indicates that there should be potential in applying for future RCUK funding on completion.