Employee voice and silence in auditing firms (English)

In: Employee Relations   ;  38 ,  4  ;  563-577  ;  2016
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– The purpose of this paper is to present an exploratory study of employee voice and silence in international auditing firms. The authors examine two key questions: what is the propensity of employees in training to speak up on workplace problems and how would management react to employees in training speaking up on workplace problems?

Design/methodology/approach

– The authors compare and contrast the views of employees on training contracts with management including partners. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with eight managers/partners and 20 employees working in six large auditing firms in Ireland.

Findings

– The authors find that employees on training contracts have a high propensity to remain silent on workplace problems. Quiescent and acquiescent forms of silence were evident. Management expressed willingness to act on employee voice on workplace problems concerning business improvements and employee performance but were very resistant to voice in regard to a change in working conditions or a managers’ performance. Employees and management couched employee voice in terms of technical knowledge exchange rather than being associated with employee dissatisfaction or having a say in decision making.

Originality/value

– The authors highlight how new professional employees are socialised into understanding that employee voice is not a democratic right and the paper provides insight on the important role of partners as owner/managers in perpetuating employee silence. Previous research on owner/managers has tended to focus on small businesses while the auditing firms in this study have large numbers of employees.

Table of contents – Volume 38, Issue 4

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The tables of contents are generated automatically and are based on the data records of the individual contributions available in the index of the TIB portal. The display of the Tables of Contents may therefore be incomplete.

466
This is not what I wanted
Ng, Jhony Choon Yeong / Shao, Iris Yu Ting / Liu, Yiping | 2016
487
Flexibility of benefit systems and firms’ attraction and retention capacities
Vidal-Salazar , M. Dolores / Cordón-Pozo, Eulogio / de la Torre-Ruiz, José M. | 2016
505
What determines the work values of employees in a Middle Eastern cultural context? Evidences from Jordanian organizations
Aladwan, Khaled / Bhanugopan, Ramudu / Fish, Alan | 2016
521
Third-sector job quality: evidence from Finland
Ruuskanen, Petri / Selander, Kirsikka / Anttila, Timo | 2016
536
Exit, voice, loyalty, and neglect reactions to frequency of change, and impact of change
Akhtar, Muhammad Naseer / Bal, Matthijs / Long, Lirong | 2016
563
Employee voice and silence in auditing firms
Donovan, Sean / O'Sullivan, Michelle / Doyle, Elaine / Garvey, John | 2016
578
The link between high performance work practices and organizational performance
Obeidat, Shatha M. / Mitchell, Rebecca / Bray, Mark | 2016
596
Influence of organizational rewards on organizational commitment and turnover intentions
Nazir, Sajjad / Shafi, Amina / Qun, Wang / Nazir, Nadia / Tran, Quang Dung | 2016
620
Disentangling the relationship between high-involvement-work-systems and job satisfaction
Ollo-López, Andrea / Bayo-Moriones, Alberto / Larraza-Kintana, Martin | 2016