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The Effectiveness of Upward Dissent: Protection Motivation Theory as an Explanation of One's Persuasive Strategies During Superior-Subordinate Communication

Author(s): KH Case Studies

Edition: 1

Copyright: 2021

Pages: 24

Details: Electronic Delivery EBOOK | 180 days |

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Disagreement between managers and employees is very common within organizations (see, for example, Near & Miceli, 1985). Such disagreement, or what Kassing (1997) calls dissent, occurs for a myriad of different reasons and has a plethora of different consequences. For example, employees may disagree about (a) the extent to which leaders seem to control their employees (Alvesson & Willmott, 2002), (b) ethical practices (Kassing, 1997), (c) the way that decisions within organizations are made (Ashmos, Duchon, & McDaniel, 1998), (d) the way that feedback is delivered (Kluger & DeNisi, 1996), (e) issues related to promotion (Kaplan & Ferris, 2001), (f) the organization’s culture and climate (Johnson & McIntyre, 1998), and/or (g) organizational performance and productivity (Milliken, Morrison, & Hewlin, 2003). According to Kassing (1997), employee dissent can be defined as “… a communicative reaction to the dissatisfaction employees experience when they feel apart or distanced from their organizations” (p. 319). The major issue with communicating upward dissent, or the disagreement voiced by an employee to his/her boss, is that doing so presents a double-edged sword (Kassing, 2008). On the one hand, the communication of upward dissent can create change within the organization. For example, assume that an employee disagrees with the process by which her leader provides negative feedback. Doing so could lead to a change in the downward communication process, such that the employee in question would feel more accepting of, and likely more willingly respond to, this feedback. Clearly, this is among the major advantages of communicating dissent up the ranks. However, on the other hand, upward dissent can have negative, and perhaps catastrophic, implications, such as ignorance (i.e., the boss merely disregards the communication episode altogether), lack of action (i.e., the boss regards the communication episode, but refuses to make a change), or relational dissolution (i.e., although the boss might regard the communication episode, and might even make a change, the relationship between the employee
and boss gets destroyed) (see, for example, Milliken et al., 2003). As such, the employee faces an interesting and complicated social conundrum and is forced to perform a cost/benefit analysis: does the potential benefit of upward dissent outweigh the potential cost of the boss’ reaction? Based on the findings from Milliken et al. (2003) study, “… being silent about issues and problems at work is a very common experience with 85 percent of [our] sample… saying that, on at least one occasion, they had felt unable to raise an issue or concern to their bosses even though they felt the issue was important” (p. 1459).
Clearly, from both organizational and communicative perspectives, this statistic is quite problematic and troubling.

KH Case Studies

Related ISBN's: 9798765702109

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ISBN 9798765702109

Details Electronic Delivery EBOOK 180 days