Like Pulling Teeth: How to Get Greater Employee Feedback (Human Resource Management)

Topic: Feedback, Leadership, Job Attitudes
Publication: Personnel Psychology
Article: Ask And You Shall Hear (But Not Always): Examining the Relationship
Between Manager Consultation and Employee Voice
Authors: Tangirala, S., & Ramanujam, R.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Whether you’re a researcher, consultant, HR professional, or manager, you know that the best sources of information about a job or organization are the employees themselves. But, you also know that gathering open, honest, and constructive feedback can sometimes be difficult. This type of feedback is also called voice, or an employee’s expression of opinions, concerns, or suggestions, and is either increased or decreased by both external and internal factors.

Tangirala and Ramanulam were interested in testing the combined effect of both an external condition and an internal motivation for employee voice: manager consultation and perceived influence. Manager consultation is how much a manager asks for and listens to employee feedback. Employee perceived influence is how much he or she feels they influence work-related issues.

Examining surveys from 640 frontline nurses and their supervisors revealed that managers who solicit feedback from employees to a greater degree increase their direct reports’ perceived influence, which increases their voice. On top of that, these relationships are stronger for higher profile managers (those with higher status in the organization), employees with higher self-efficacy, and employees who are more satisfied with their jobs.

So, if you’re a manager looking to increase the input from your employees, realize that their
comfort with giving feedback depends on whether they feel like their words have any sway—a perception which depends on the extent you ask for and act on feedback. In addition to asking for this feedback, make sure that you have the requisite status to do something with the feedback and they have the requisite skills to give it.

Tangirala, S., & Ramanujam, R. (2012). Ask and you shall hear (but not always):
Examinng the relationship between manager consultation and employee voice.
Personnel Psychology, 65, 251-282.

human resource management, organizational industrial psychology, organizational management

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