The affective relevance of suggestion-focused and problem-focused voice: A diary study on voice in meetings

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Building on the affective events theory framework, we argue for voice as affect-relevant action and investigate the affective consequences of voice in meetings within persons. We administered daily surveys over one workweek to examine how suggestion-focused and problem-focused voice in meetings relate to state positive and state negative affect at work. Our analyses are based on the data of 124 employees reporting on 224 meetings. Employees’ problem-focused voice in meetings was associated with a decrease in employees’ state negative affect at the end of the next workday. Employees’ suggestion-focused voice, however, was not associated with an increase in employees’ state positive affect at the end of the next workday. Future studies should investigate boundary conditions that might change the affective consequences of employees’ voice in meetings. Practitioner points: Meetings offer employees the opportunity to voice work-related issues to bring about change. There is substantial intra-individual variability in employees’ voice in meetings, such that an employee sometimes takes this opportunity, whereas sometimes the same employee passes it on. An employee can show suggestion-focused voice (i.e., make suggestions of how to improve current work processes) or problem-focused voice (i.e., address problems about inefficiencies or poor performance) in a meeting. Both types of voice can provide valuable information for work teams and organizations. When employees suggest an improvement in a meeting, they do not necessarily feel more active at the end of their next workday, but when they address a problem, they feel less distressed. This favourable affective consequence may help to develop a more positive view of problem-focused voice among supervisors and employees.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)340 - 361
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 06.2018

    Research areas

  • diary study, meetings, proactive behaviour, problem-focused and suggestion-focused voice, state positive and negative affect, within-person variability
  • Management studies