Implicit Voice Theories: Where Does Self-Censoring Come From?

 Sim SitkinJim Detert
Associate Professor of Management and Organizations

Cornell University


FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2013

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

McNair Hall, Rice University ~ Room 317

Implicit Voice Theories: Where Does Self-Censoring Come From?

In four studies, we examine implicit voice theories—taken-for-granted beliefs about when and why speaking up at work is risky or inappropriate. In Study 1, interview data from a large corporation suggest that fine-grained implicit theories underlie reluctance to voice even pro-organizational suggestions. Study 2 survey data address the generalizability of the implicit theories identified in Study 1. Studies 3 and 4 develop survey measures for five such theories, establishing the measures’ discriminant validity and incremental predictive validity for workplace silence. Collectively, our results indicate that implicit voice theories are widely held and significantly augment explanation of workplace silence. (Abstract taken from Implicit voice theories: Taken-for-granted rules of self-censorship at work. Detert & Edmondson, 2011, AOM Journal.)

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