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Repositório FGV de Periódicos e Revistas

The (un)speaking self: an identity-based model for employee voice and silence

Bruno Felix


The literature on employee voice and silence has typically explored these behaviors as being motivated by calculative-instrumental purposes (what will I gain/lose if I volunteer information?). I argue that voice and silence are social-functional behaviors that are embedded within everyday interactions at work and I draw on social identity theory to propose an identity-based model of employee voice and silence (how does speaking up affect my definition of who I am?). The presented model explains how individuals can volunteer information or remain silent by preserving or restructuring their sense of self in the face of identity threats. I also explore the conditions for each identity-based speaking behavior and offer contributions to both the Organizational Behavior and Industrial Relations literature on employee voice and silence.


Voice. Silence. Identity. Threat. Self.

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