Employee voice is critical to organizational survival, development and success. Being able to get high quality information from employees is the largest and most valuable asset for organizations. Although employee voice is an important contributor to organizational effectiveness, leaders’ responses to voice can be positive (e.g. voice-taking) or negative (e.g. voice rejection). And even compared with taking voice, leaders are more likely to reject voice. Voice is open to interpretation and different leaders can respond differently to voice event because of the personal subjective cognition. In order to better understand why and when leaders will reject voice, this paper constructs a motivated social cognitive model based on the perspective of motivated social cognitive framework, which can explain in detail how different motives related to psychological conservatism lead to voice rejection. Because voice rejection is a new research topic, there is no clear and definite expression about it at present. Therefore, this paper firstly explores the connotation of voice rejection from related literature of leaders’ responses to voice and feedback and defines voice rejection from the perspective of actor purpose. It refers to a kind of behavior that leaders express aversion to or resist voice in order to maintain self-esteem and authority. Subsequently, this paper reviews motivated social cognitive framework and constructs a motivated social cognitive model of voice rejection, which explains in detail the effects of epistemic motives (i.e. need for cognitive closure, need for cognitive structure and uncertainty avoidance), existential motives (i.e. threat to self-esteem, regulatory focus and defensive pessimism) and ideological motives (i.e. social dominance orientation, interpersonal hierarchy expectations and authoritarianism) on voice rejection. And then, it discusses driving factors of the three kinds of motives from personality characteristics (i.e. managerial self-efficacy and openness to experience) and contextual factors (i.e. climate for inclusion and time pressure). Some propositions are proposed: epistemic motives, existential motives and ideological motives are positively related to voice rejection; managerial self-efficacy is negatively related to epistemic motives and existential motives, and the two kinds of motives mediate the relationship between managerial self-efficacy and voice rejection; openness to experience is negatively related to epistemic motives, existential motives and ideological motives, and the three kinds of motives mediate the relationship between openness to experience and voice rejection; climate for inclusion is negatively related to epistemic motives, existential motives and ideological motives, and the three kinds of motives mediate the relationship between climate for inclusion and voice rejection; time pressure is positively related to epistemic motives, existential motives and ideological motives, and the three kinds of motives mediate the relationship between time pressure and voice rejection. Finally, future research directions are discussed, such as exploring the mediating role of motivated cognitive factors in the relationships between personality characteristics, contextual factors and voice rejection through empirical study, discussing the effect of other motivated cognitive factors on voice rejection and the interaction effect of personality characteristics and contextual factors, and exploring antecedents of voice rejection from other theoretical perspectives.
Why do Leaders Reject Voice: An Explanation Based on a Motivated Social Cognition Perspective
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 42, Issue 08, pp. 68 - 80 (2020) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.20200409.201
 Chen Jie, Chen Zhang, Fang Yangchun. Impact of inclusive climate on innovative behavior of S&T talents[J]. Science Research Management, 2017, 38(S1): 1-6.
 Duan Jinyun, Shi Jiayi, Ling Bin. The influence of high commitment organization on employee voice behavior: A dual-process model examination[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(4): 539-554.
 Han Yi, Dong Yue, Hu Xiaofei, Xie Yimin. The study on strategy and effectiveness of employee voice[J]. Chinese Journal of Management, 2017, 14(12): 1777-1785.
 Li Aimei, Yan Liang, Wang Xiaotian, Ma Xueqian, Li Fangjun. The Double-edged effect and mechanism of time pressure[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2015, 23(9): 1627-1636.
 Li Jia, Yang Zhong. The impact mechanism of authoritarian leadership on group voice climate[J]. Business Management Journal, 2018, 40(6): 53-68.
 Liu Wenxing, Liao Jianqiao, Huang Shihua. Uncertainty avoidance, workload and leader empowering behavior: The moderating role of desirability for control and position[J]. Nankai Business Review, 2012, 15(5): 4-12.
 Song Kuntai, Zhang Zhengtang, Zhao Lijing. An analysis of the effect of time pressure at work on employees’ ambidextrous innovative behavior[J]. Business Management Journal, 2019, 41(5): 72-87.
 Wang Aihua. Refusal realization patterns in English and Chinese[J]. Foreign Language Teaching and Research, 2001, 24(3): 178-185.
 Wang Kai, Han Yi, Yu Hanyan. The effect of supervisors’ response to employee voice: The moderating effect of sense of power[J]. Chinese Journal of Management, 2018, 15(2): 209-216.
 Xu Liming, Zhao Shuming, Zhang Min. Impact of abusive supervision on employee voice behavior: A study of the mediating role of the dualistic work passion[J]. Chinese Journal of Management, 2018, 15(10): 988-995.
 Xu Meizhi, Zhang Xiangqian. The impact of inclusive climate on employee creativity——Take the cross-level mediating effect of knowledge sharing[J]. Science & Technology Progress and Policy, 2019, 36(5): 138-144.
 Zhang Min. Relationship between intolerance of uncertainty and innovation behavior under time pressure[J]. Management Review, 2014, 26(11): 67-75.
 Zhou Hao. The influence of power on voice endorsement: Mediating role of managerial self-efficacy and moderating role of power distance[J]. Journal of Sichuan University (Social Science Edition), 2016, 63(3): 123-131.
 Anseel F, Beatty A S, Shen W, et al. How are we doing after 30 years? A meta-analytic review of the antecedents and outcomes of feedback-seeking behavior[J]. Journal of Management, 2015, 41(1): 318-348.
 Brandt M J, Chambers J R, Crawford J T, et al. Bounded openness: The effect of openness to experience on intolerance is moderated by target group conventionality[J]. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2015, 109(3): 549-568.
 Burris E R. The risks and rewards of speaking up: Managerial responses to employee voice[J]. Academy of Management Journal, 2012, 55(4): 851-875.
 Cheng B S, Boer D, Chou L F, et al. Paternalistic leadership in four East Asian societies: Generalizability and cultural differences of the triad model[J]. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 2014, 45(1): 82-90.
 Cohrs J C, Kämpfe-Hargrave N, Riemann R. Individual differences in ideological attitudes and prejudice: Evidence from peer-report data[J]. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2012, 103(2): 343-361.
 Fast N J, Burris E R, Bartel C A. Managing to stay in the dark: Managerial self-efficacy, ego defensiveness, and the aversion to employee voice[J]. Academy of Management Journal, 2014, 57(4): 1013-1034.
 Garner J T. Open doors and iron cages: Supervisors’ responses to employee dissent[J]. International Journal of Business Communication, 2016, 53(1): 27-54.
 Guntzviller L M, MacGeorge E L. Modeling interactional influence in advice exchanges: Advice giver goals and recipient evaluations[J]. Communication Monographs, 2013, 80(1): 83-100.
 Huang X, Xu E, Huang L, et al. Nonlinear consequences of promotive and prohibitive voice for managers’ responses: The roles of voice frequency and LMX[J]. Journal of Applied Psychology, 2018, 103(10): 1101-1120.
 Lam C F, Lee C, Sui Y. Say it as it is: Consequences of voice directness, voice politeness, and voicer credibility on voice endorsement[J]. Journal of Applied Psychology, 2019, 104(5): 642-658.
 Piezunka H, Dahlander L. Idea rejected, tie formed: Organizations’ feedback on crowdsourced ideas[J]. Academy of Management Journal, 2019, 62(2): 503-530.
 Timming A R, Johnstone S. Employee silence and the authoritarian personality: A political psychology of workplace democracy[J]. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 2015, 23(1): 154-171.
Cite this article
Han Yi, Xiao Sufang. Why do Leaders Reject Voice: An Explanation Based on a Motivated Social Cognition Perspective[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2020, 42(8): 68-80.