Leader Member Exchange and Creative Idea Endorsement: The Role of Supportive and Challenging Voice


Modern working environments, these days, rely on their workforce continually enhance their effectiveness at tasks assigned (Liao, Su, Ptashnik, & Nielsen, 2022). Individuals may desire to take steps to ask their managers for responses in order to evaluate their effectiveness at work (Anseel, Beatty, Shen, Lievens, & Sackett, 2015). Since it serves to define anticipations (Ashford, Blatt, & VandeWalle, 2003) and makes a preferable impact, it is commonly accepted that coworkers/ staff asking for feedback fosters the creation of healthy interactions with colleagues as well as supervisors (Crans, Aksentieva, Beausaert, & Segers, 2022). Nevertheless, prior research has indicated that preemptive efforts on the part of employees might not always improve work relationships with higher-ups and could even result in undesired opposite effects (Adeel, Batool, Kee, Madni, & Khan, 2022). Conversely, prior research has indicated that preemptive conduct on the part of employees might not always improve work relationships with superiors or even have the opposite effect (Lam, Huang, & Snape, 2007). Researchers observed that higher-ups were more likely to treat pre-emptive assisting action by employees more favorably when they linked it to altruistic intentions (Chen & Zhang, 2021). Similarly, studies discovered that higher-ups/ managers were more likely to support employees' opinions when they saw their roles as loyal rather than a danger (Adeel, Batool, Kee, Madni, & Khan, 2022; Burris, 2012). Such results imply that managers' reactions to employees' initiative approaches are influenced by their interpretation of those activities.

"Voice is a type of proactive behavior” (Morrison, 2011). Researchers emphasized the preceding elements that motivate individuals to raise their voices; more latest studies have demonstrated that supervisors are crucial to the voice process, the reason behind being they are seen as possessing the authority to tackle the problems highlighted (Mowbray et al., 2015). According to academics, management actions are able to indicate whether an organizational climate is receptive toward its workforce voice (Knoll, Neves, Schyns, & Meyer, 2021). Workers have an awareness of the dangers inherent to voice as well as the often-hopeless tendency of attempting to alter the prevailing situation (Morrison, 2011). The staff has a higher likelihood to talk openly if they believe supervisors are receptive in addition to being non-aggressive because they seek management’s approval/ acceptance considering their recommended improvements, for mutual trust, and to prevent any dangers to their reputation (Holland, Cooper, & Sheehan, 2017).

Assessing the patterns involved in supervisors' responses to employees making a stand and the reasons explaining these responses is crucial, provided that management views accompanied by their behaviors have a significant impact on establishing trusting correlation and an environment of "silence or voice" (Dyne, Ang, & Botero, 2003). To establish a harmonious correlation, it is crucial to recognize when supervisors support the suggestions made as well as considering the individuals putting up those suggestions favorably. There hasn’t been ample study analyzing higher-ups’ behaviors and responses to voicing; this meagre data has yielded contradictory findings. Initially, almost any study has inquired relating to managerial support on employee suggestions by putting them into practice or by raising them to further higher administrative tiers. Secondarily, in principle, supervisors who experience voicing ought to have a supportive attitude towards people raising their voice since voice is stated as "upward-directed, discretionary verbal activity by a member meant to enhance an organization." Keeping up with this approach, several exploratory investigations on voicing have demonstrated the benefits of speech liberty, demonstrating that the performance efficiency of vocal workers is consistently perceived as more than other individuals (Whiting, Podsakoff, & Pierce, 2008).

However, some studies have revealed contradictory results. For instance, a manager's rankings on voice were favourably correlated with the supervisor's judgements of the work productivity of his team, while colleague evaluations as well as self-evaluations of individuals on voicing didn’t reveal any correlation with work-efficacy assessments (Van Dyne & LePine, 1998) and endorsement of employees’ ideas (Burris, 2012). Additionally, several studies have demonstrated that raising one's voice comes with consequences (Maynes & Podsakoff, 2014). Therefore, suggestions from staff can go unheard, or consequently, workers might face intentional punishments for going against administrative goals and pre-defined course of conduct. Additionally, investigations have indicated that a better LMX is associated with improved productivity since staff members there often enjoy and experience better assistance socially, greater facilities, and better professional progression counselling (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). It's likely that speaking up helps people work better, at a minimum, since this activity improves the rapport between staff members and their respective superiors. As a result, we additionally investigate if LMX mediates the relationship amongst employees' voice and their productivity.

The inconsistent explanations and insufficient outcomes in the available literature on voicing may be caused in part by two problems. Firstly, empirical analysis to date has mostly examined supervisors' approach to assessing the creativity of individuals taking a stand rather than on the possibility of their support of the suggestions made for adopting or endorsing creative ideas. Instead of specifically degrading their opinion for such individuals who came up with new perspectives, managers may not opt to support the proposals. Secondly, several initiatives of speaking out seem to be quite broad and do not particularly represent providing innovative proposals for reform and advocating alterations to normal operations (Podsakoff, Maynes, Whiting, & Podsakoff, 2015). Administrative responses to speaking out that particularly question the established order and responses to voices originating from sources that are better understood have a higher likelihood to be different. To focus on the concerning outcomes, it will possibly be helpful to get more detail on the subject of the notion put forward, particularly to assess the degree of challenge.

In conclusion, while the advantages of speech liberty for workplaces are generally known, it is less obvious to estimate the manager’s response for whomsoever voice is, in fact, targeted. To fill this void, the current study seeks to investigate the reasons, in certain instances, speaking out is not viewed positively but, at times, doing so results in both management support for the pitched proposals and improved interpersonal correlations for individuals doing so.

Two key additions can be accredited to this study. Primarily, by examining the ways in which this voice behaviour relates the class of LMX to work achievements, by doing so, the body of knowledge is broadened on soliciting employee voice. Exploration into such connections is expected to increase knowledge of the effects of employees' voice approach. Additionally, whereas earlier studies have proposed a favourable relationship between the employment of relationship-building strategies and the level of LMX (Whiting et al., 2008), these investigations have not accounted for managers' explanations for why such conduct occurs. This exclusion is crucial since there is proof that voicing employees are not always viewed favouring they may be viewed as trouble makers (Detert & Edmondson, 2005) and sometimes face managerial disregard (de Vries, Jehn, & Terwel, 2012), thereby even in the presence of opportunity to voice their ideas, they prefer not to speak (Donaghey, Cullinane, Dundon, & Wilkinson, 2011). This hypothesis implies that conduct will not be connected with superior LMX when managers view employee voice as part of a detrimental process to the work environment. The subject matter has implications both in theory as well as practice since it may help to describe the variety of probable precursors of LMX with further entirety.

Literature Review and Hypothesis Development

Response to Employee Voice

Employees raising a voice are typically connected with two sorts of management reactions. Firstly, if staff members seek to "initiate change rather than withdrawing from an unacceptable scenario," it is the duty of management to hear from them (Hirschman, 1970). Bringing about significant modifications to existing procedures or practices requires a certain amount of supervisory support, which is demonstrated by executives giving such proposals more focus and funding (Ashford et al., 2003). Thus, when workers speak up, they evaluate the substantial consequence of convincing management to support and subsequently accept proposals put forth by them (Maynes & Podsakoff, 2014). The supervisor's assessment of the team members who raise such suggestions is the second output. The assessment is characterized as the "image, credibility, and reputation" respectively (de Vries et al., 2012) of the workers. Generally, such evaluations indicate an appraisal of the workers' general ability and aptitude for contributing to the work environment they represent (Van Dyne & LePine, 1998).

Types of Employee Voice

This study's core argument is that supervisors are likely to judge views presented along with the people voicing them, with varying perspectives depending on the sort of expressions they get. Voicing was initially defined as "any attempt to initiate changes in an organization" (Hirschman, 1970). For example, researchers proposed that voice could be an action people do to make things better at workplaces (Detert & Edmondson, 2005). Afterward, this idea that voice especially disrupts or confronts the pre-established conventional order in a positive way was introduced in studies in this domain (Holland et al., 2017; Van Dyne & LePine, 1998). Researchers claimed that the definition of voice is to raise one voice in questioning the established order based on the basis of purpose of changing the circumstance." Such a "challenging voice" entails raising one voice in contexts that aim to amend, reconfigure, or overthrow widely agreed approaches of procedures, regulations, or overall strategies that constitute the established order to all those individuals who have developed or are responsible for maintaining these elements of a work environment.

Intrinsically tweakable, since it is a request to modify "the way things are" at a workplace, a challenging voice is a trait of workers reflecting proactive and individualist approaches to work. Therefore, speaking up is unquestionably proactive (Maynes & Podsakoff, 2014). Since they tacitly or openly critique a higher-up as well as the system of practices that the management is entrusted to supervise, challenging voice varieties are usually personal in nature. Accordingly, the body of questioning forms of voice may constitute outright opposition as accompanied by conflict with management (Clara et al., 2022), which might increase objective contention among the workforce and their supervisors (Maynes & Podsakoff, 2014). However, the aforementioned challenging attribute may only sometimes apply to some voices. Instead, the voice may favor keeping things as they are. The goal of a supportive voice is to maintain or sustain current structural protocols as well as procedures at a workplace. This assistance could be provided by regularly participating in procedures that call for making judgments or by preserving the existing order in reaction to any possible damage to it. For example, by participating in numerous debates regarding the intended adoption, people may voice their support for pre-planned modifications or are in the process. Another option may be, in reaction to alternative recommendations that would substantially affect the ways of doing work, workers may put up incremental proposals that protect (or do not significantly change) the work settings. “Supportive voice is more reactive than proactive" due to its regulating characteristics and propensity to emerge in reaction to possible threats to the established order (Holland et al., 2017).

Supportive voice is additionally compatible with prevalent conceptual frameworks of civic actions and is unlikely to result in a confrontation with the status quo inside an organisation (Werner, 2006). Moreover, supporting voice can be ingratiating if individuals' genuine motivations are dishonest (Bolino, 1999), or it might result from a sincere conviction that the established order is preferable over additional options being considered (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). Owing to this, even though both challenging and supportive kinds of voice aim at improving an institution via recommendations, they emerge with quite differing features and have eventually higher likelihood, from previous conceptions of voice (Hirschman, 1970), to elicit varied responses from the supervisors to who is being addressed (Werner, 2006). Managerial opposition to significantly challenging voices is probable. Individuals commonly denounce impactful attempts which are significantly at odds with the positions and opinions they hold. According to studies of social psychology on persuasive communication (Hovland, Harvey, & Sherif, 1957), particularly when driven for analysis and assessment of the notions embodied in these impactful efforts (Brinol & Petty, 2009) or have a business for any specific reaction (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). Additionally, Individuals usually may not simply denounce impactful attempts but even grow opposition towards any adaptation/ alteration along with rigidness in their own convictions (Hovland et al., 1957). Supervisors may respond negatively to confronting voice if it individually differs from their opinions or is more confrontational in tone and manner.

The workforce which takes part in more confronting voice may thus face greater pushback from management as compared to the ones who indulge in supporting voice, including both regarding the extent of management approval and appraisal to the notions raised as well as the assessment of the employees offering the suggestions. Supervisors are likely to perceive employees who speak up in confrontational manners causing interference in work progress while lacking devotion towards the organization's long-term objectives since doing so can be perceived as shattering cohesiveness and group motivation in crossing institutional milestones (Morrison, 2011). Workers who cause disturbance by speaking up in a critical manner are at a higher likelihood of being judged on poor grounds than the ones whose approach is more supportive in nature. A task conflict may additionally affect interpersonal understandings, resulting in compromised work efficiency, provided that confronting ideas may solely apply to such duties as well as practices that are pertinent to a certain individual/ unit (De Dreu & Weingart, 2003). Individuals raising objections and/ or even causing to start a dispute are likely to end up receiving negative feedback from higher-ups as retaliation for their poor conduct. It particularly holds true if the judgmental and individual aspect of the more confrontational nature of voice casts doubts on supervisors' position, therefore, usually triggers defensive responses leading to poorer ratings of an individual's job efficiency (Bendersky & Hays, 2012, 2017).

Employee Voice and Exchange Relationships

The "role-making process" of the exchange relationship is facilitated by soliciting responses; thus individual's voice could well be correlated with high LMX. Every participant in a dyadic relationship has anticipation of the probable returns along with the possible gains from the partner throughout this process (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). People with the perception that they are gaining from such association are likely to put efforts to make the second party content by meeting their expectations. A strong bond amongst both teams leads, and teammates are facilitated by this exchange mechanism. In such scenarios, no one on both sides is aware of what the other is anticipating, despite the fact that both sides may check each other in order to determine if the other's expectations are satisfied (Sparrowe, Liden, Wayne, & Kraimer, 2001). It is debatable that soliciting for response may aid either side in comprehending the implications of the roles of their partners. In particular, earlier research has demonstrated that employees' response-seeking has a positive association with knowledge of their responsibility and that these attitudes lower the uncertainty among managers and workers (Ashford et al., 2003; Burris, 2012). Put another way, when employees solicit comments/ responses, it could prove beneficial for both sides to develop a clarity of each other's motives, anticipations, and ability to fulfil the role responsibilities. Such understanding initially appears as a result of the appropriate updates received via advice/ responses that can assist employees in understanding ways to fulfil the satisfaction criteria of their higher-ups, as well as the possibility that requesting feedback may assist administrators in clarifying the employees' responsibilities (Ahmad et al., 2023). However, progressively, these “role-making procedures” result in a reliable and higher LMX based on reciprocal responsibilities, regard, and faith (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). Additionally, employees may persuade their superiors to have an optimistic opinion about them by staying consistent in their desire to speak up (Burris, 2012;).

According to research on employee voice, the whole cycle of "concern and response" for attaining responses from higher management may help in establishing a perception that they are being cared for by their employers regarding the caliber of their work (Barry & Wilkinson, 2022). Researchers also suggested that employees might occasionally try to improve their reputations via raising their voices. Provided that it is a useful “issue-raising” strategy even if the input is devoid of content. Specifically, employee voice may also be utilized to impact the way managers view and assess employees since they may view those who demonstrate such an approach as capable as well as focused on their job efficiency (Burris, 2012). Resultantly, they usually forge strong working bonds with their employees (C. F. Lam et al., 2022). Accordingly, we proposed here:

Hypothesis 1: Managers view employees who more frequently engage in a supportive voice as high- quality LMX member s than those engaging in a challenging voice.

Employee Voice and Creative Idea Endorsement

Supervisors may even restrict their level of support towards the integration of the notion presented in the confronting voice when dealing with an individual opting for it. According to researchers, supervisors could be reluctant to hear what is being said from the lower hierarchies and react favorably to it as they are inclined towards information that supports their beliefs and dubious of statistics that contradict them (Ashford et al., 2003). Supervisors are likely to be highly scrutinized and reluctant to implement proposals or promote them to more senior managers if the criticisms are personal to them. This is congruent with earlier "social-psychological theory on persuasion," which contends that exposure to strongly opposing viewpoints might make individuals more adamant in their beliefs (Hovland et al., 1957). These protective responses may be anticipated when supervisors face staff members who speak in a forceful, authoritative manner. Additionally, management may consider the workforce as self-serving, also that they are the experts, as well as cooperation is beneficial (Morrison, 2011). While workers use a more assertive voice, these beliefs are probably amplified. Since supervisors are frequently in charge of creating or implementing the rules and regulations in effect, there is a higher likelihood that they are inclined towards opting to support concepts that do not directly contradict their existing beliefs.

Managers, on the other hand, could be more responsive to suggestions communicated via more encouraging types of speech. Management may find it convenient to support the opinions of employees participating in administrative/ decisive processes in addition to offering merely minor changes aligned with their pre-laid strategic agendas. It particularly holds true when thoughts are expressed inaudibly or subtly (Burris, 2012). As a result, supervisors are probably less inclined to back a worker's proposals when they are being critical, in comparison to when they are exhibiting support (Holland et al., 2017). Accordingly, we propose here:

Hypothesis 2: Managers endorse the creative ideas of employees who more frequently engage in challenging forms of voice less than they endorse the ideas of those engaging in supportive voice .

Employee Voice, LMX, and Creative Idea Endorsement

According to earlier research on "employee voice," this activity enables workers to significantly define progressive objectives for improvement in alignment with higher-ups' anticipations (Duan, Guo, Shi, & Wang, 2022). As a result, employees might take the necessary steps to elevate the endorsement of their creative ideas. Employees who solicited for voice gained a more precise perception of their talents and capabilities in comparison to the ones who did not (Prouska, Nyfoudi, Psychogios, Szamosi, & Wilkinson, 2022), raising voice enables individuals to improve their image and performance (Mori, Cavaliere, Sassetti, & Caputo, 2022).

Individuals frequently voicing, therefore, exhibited a trending motivation towards raising efficiency (Kim, MacDuffie, & Pil, 2010). It is asserted that the link seen between employee voice and creative idea endorsement may be mediated by LMX. As aforementioned, employee voice is anticipated to be associated with an elevated LMX since the behavior may explain about the expected roles of supervisors and the workforce (Bhal & Ansari, 2007) also, it may assist higher-ups in fostering a positive opinion about employees (Burris, 2012; Chou & Barron, 2016). Additionally, there exists growing proof that employees are likely to exhibit superior performance if trusting bonds exist with their managers (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995; Liden et al., 1997). Such enhancement takes place as a result of the fact that in an elevated LMX, supervisors give individuals extra assistance, perks, and chances for professional advancement (Adeel et al., 2022; Adeel, Pengcheng, Saleem, Ali, & Batool, 2019). Despite the widespread belief that employee voice improves work performance, factual research has found that this impact varies significantly (Burris, 2012; Hirschman, 1970).

In light of this, it is perceived that a manager's understanding may have an impact on ways "employee voice" affects the managerial response to employees’ creative ideas in a manner similar to its impact on LMX. Therefore, we argue that the interchange mechanism initiated by such behaviour could be interrupted by managers' assessment of employees' voices. In particular, such an approach may merely have a beneficial impact on LMX and the endorsement of employees’ creative ideas when managers perceive the type of voice raised by the employees. Conversely, such conduct may have a lower likelihood of stimulating positive "social exchange processes" and productive job environments if managers view the response soliciting as being a more challenging voice than a supportive voice. Accordingly, we propose here:

Hypothesis 3: Managerial perceptions of LMX quality mediate the relationship between the type of voice and the level of creative idea endorsement .

Figure 1.Research Model.

Research Methodology and Data Collection

Data for this study is collected from the employees of a telecommunication services organization in Indonesia. The data collection process was initiated in February 2022. Data for supportive voice, challenging voice, LMX quality, and creative idea endorsement was collected at two points in time with two sources of data collection (subordinates and supervisors). For questionnaires distribution, the first author personally visited the controlling office; after obtaining approval from the management, the first author personally explained the current research, purpose, significance, and the administration of the survey into the respondents ( for subordinates: in a group meeting; for supervisors: separate meetings). Participation in this study was voluntary, and the author distributed a relevant questionnaire and a return envelope to all of the participants; the respondents were also instructed to seal the completed survey questionnaire and return it directly to the author of the study. In order to maintain the anonymity of the respondents and the identification of the questionnaires, dummy codes were assigned to all of the questionnaires. Initially, 478 questionnaires were distributed to subordinates and 98 to the supervisors, and 367 useable questionnaires were returned from the subordinates, with a response rate of 76.7 %. The minimum number of subordinates under each supervisor was 5; in the final qualified sample, 67.4 % of the respondents were male; 32.6 % of the respondents were female; 62.4% of the respondents had a college-level degree or above; the average organizational tenure was 3.4 years with an average age of 28.7 years. For the supervisor sample, all the supervisors returned their relevant questionnaires; 53.7 % of the respondents were male; 46.3 % of the respondents were female; 78.6% of the respondents had a college-level degree or above; the average organizational tenure was 6.5 years with an average age of 39.7 years.

Variable Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5
1. Gender 0.43 0.43
2. Age 22.81 2.45 0.028
3. Education 3.19 0.73 -0.022 0.069
4.Organization Experience 3.56 0.84 0.147 0.025* -0.178
5. Job Satisfaction 3.67 0.60 0.125* 0.050* 0.154 -0.134
6. Openness 3.72 0.34 -0.135 -0.132 -0.013 -0.159* 0.265*
Note. N = 367. Gender was coded as 0 = Female, 1 = Male. Education was coded as 1= College Graduate, 2 = Bachelor's Degree, 3=Master Degree. S.E. = standard error.*p < .05; **p < .01
Table 1.Study 1 - Means, Standard Deviation, and Correlation among study variables.Source: Source: Calculated by the author


Challenging Voice

The challenging voice was measured with three item-five-point likert type scale. Three adapted items (Burris, 2012) of the original scale (Van Dyne & LePine, 1998) were used in this study to measure the subordinate’s voice. The sample item includes “I challenge my Manager to deal with problems around here.” The scale items range from 1, "almost never," to 5, "almost always." The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.72.

Supportive Voice

The supportive voice was measured with three item-five-point likert type scale. Three adapted items (Burris, 2012) of the original scale (Van Dyne & LePine, 1998) were used in this study to measure the subordinate’s voice. The sample item includes “I keep well-informed about issues where my opinion might be useful.” The scale items range from 1, "almost never," to 5, "almost always." The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.75.

Leader-Member-Exchange (LMX)

LMX quality was measured with seven item-five-point likert type scale (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995; Schaubroeck & Lam, 2002). The scale consists of seven items that characterize the overall effectiveness of the relationship between supervisor and subordinate. The sample item is, “How would you characterize your working relationship with your leader?” The scale items range from 1, " extremely ineffective," to 5, " extremely effective. " The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.81.

Creative Idea Endorsement

Creative idea endorsement was measured with five item-five-point likert type scale (Burris, 2012). The sample item is "How likely is it that you will take this person's comments to your supervisors?". The scale items range from 1, " very unlikely," to 5, " very likely. " The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.76.

Control Variables

In this research, different demographic and contextual variables are controlled for several potential explanations (Bauer & Green, 1996; Liden et al., 1997); we controlled for gender, age, education, and years of experience with the current organization. We also controlled for the job satisfaction of employees with three items, which may have alternative explanations for the endorsement of ideas (Burris, 2012), performance (Harrison, Newman, & Roth, 2006), and voice (Zhou & George, 2001). The sample item includes "Overall, I am satisfied with [this organization] as a place to work"). In addition, previous researchers have highlighted the importance of a supervisor’s openness to the creative output of employees and their voices. Supervisors with more openness create a more open and inviting context for employees’ input. Thereby, supervisors who are more open may also show more inclination to listen to their subordinates’ voices and endorse their creative ideas (Burris, 2012). Therefore, we also controlled for the openness of the supervisors with four items that may affect their intentions to endorse the ideas of their subordinates. The sample item includes “Takes action on things brought up by me.”

Preliminary Analyses

Construct Validation

In order to evaluate the discriminant validity, we conducted a confirmatory factor analysis of supportive voice, challenging voice, openness, and job satisfaction with MPlus. The results of the analysis showed that compared to the four-factor model (CFI= 0.96, TLI=0.94, RMSEA= 0.06), all other models indicated poorer fit.

Test of Hypotheses

The data collected from the individual respondents were further nested into different workgroups as per their functional requirement; we regressed our data for hierarchical regression analyses (Van Der Vegt, Van De Vliert, & Oosterhof, 2003) with Mplus. As per the steps provided in the literature (Muller, Judd, & Yzerbyt, 2005), we conducted hierarchical multiple regression to test all of the hypotheses of this research. As presented in regression table 2, we first regressed the type of voice on all of the control variables. We then regressed creative idea endorsement on supportive voice and challenging voice in presence of all the control variables of our study; The results of this regression showed that challenging voice has a negative effect on endorsement of creative ideas (β = 0.342, p < .01), however, supportive voice has a positive effect on creative idea endorsement (β = 0.125, p < .01). We regressed Leader-Member-Exchange relationship on supportive voice and challenging voice in presence of all the control variables; the results as presented in table showed that challenging voice has a negative effect on Leader-Member-Exchange relationship (β = -0.364, p < .01), however, supportive voice has a positive effect on Leader-Member-Exchange relationship (β = 0.103, p < .01). Finally, we regressed creative idea endorsement on supportive voice, challenging voice, and Leader-Member-Exchange quality in presence of all the control variables of our study; The results of this regression showed that Leader-Member-Exchange relationship emerge as a positive predictor of creative idea endorsement (β = 0.563, p < .05), however, supportive voice became insignificant (β = 0.432, p ˃ .01) and challenging voice remained significant (β = 0.042, p < .01) with a reduced magnitude. The result indicates a full mediation for the relationship between supportive voice and creative idea endorsement through the Leader-Member-Exchange relationship and partial mediation for the relationship between challenging voice and creative idea endorsement through Leader-Member-Exchange.

Predictor Model 1 Creative Idea Endorsement Model 2 Creative Idea Endorsement Model 3 Leader-Member-Exchange Model 4 Creative Idea Endorsement
Estimate SE Estimate SE Estimate SE Estimate SE
Control Variables
Gender -0.346 0.249 0.304 -0.219 0.243 -0.188 0.403 0.270
Age 0.173 0.135 0.203 0.159 0.104 0.060 0.412 0.251
Education 0.209 0.142 0.212 0.144 0.012 0.006 0.313* 0.157
Organization Experience -0.312 0.176 -0.227 0.128 0.507 -0.303 0.076* -0.038
Job Satisfaction -0.21 0.359 -0.168 0.287 0.209 -0.542 0.752 -0.889
Openness 0.125 0.091 0.365 0.285 0.192 0.112 0.402 0.369
Independent Variables
Supportive Voice 0.125* 0.063 0.103* 0.051 0.432 0.290
Challenging Voice 0.342* 0.161 -0.364* 0.175 0.042* 0.021
Mediating Variable
LMX 0.563** 0.170
Δ χ 2 (Δdf) 19.12(6) 21.42(7) 29.76 (10)* 35.38(9)
Δ R2 0.34 0.36 0.42 0.53
N = 367. Gender was coded as 0 = Female, 1 = Male. Education was coded as 1= College Graduate, 2 = bachelor’s degree, 3=master’s degree. S.E. = standard error, LMX = Leader-Member-Exchange*p < .05; **p < .01
Table 2. Hierarchical Regression Analysis ResultsSource: Calculated by the author


It was discovered that once managers perceived their team members' voice behavior as being supportive and far less challenging, it was more firmly and favorably in relevance to a "high-quality leader-member relationship (LMX)" along with subordinates' quality of work. These outcomes are suggestive of the fact that managers don't merely acknowledge their team workers' proactive approaches. Instead, they seem to focus on the fundamental causes of above-mentioned tendencies. Our findings thus contribute to the research on voice behavior by highlighting the significance of managers' assessments of reasons attributed to employees for voicing.

Findings confirm this report's central hypothesis, which states that managers' responses to workers who raise their voice rely upon their voice type (Hypothesis 1). Particularly, the findings of this investigation assertively propose that there lies a factor of truth behind these challenges, but exclusively for individuals who engage in such tasks: the findings further imply that supervisors assessed workers, actively participating in conflicting tones, to be more likely as portraying lower competency levels. Previous studies have shown that workers interpret that "voice can contain an element of risk" (Detert & Burris, 2007). On the other hand, when they opened up frequently, employees who used supporting voices were valued more highly. Such a preliminary analysis proves that various voice varieties give rise to various operational ramifications.

Cumulatively, the results indicate that confronting vs. supporting kinds of speech depicts diverse and significant effects on workers. Individuals indulging in challenging speech were perceived as being less dependable as well as dangerous as compared to individuals opting for supporting stances. Furthermore, raising voice in a critical manner resulted in minimized acceptance rates as well as general impressions of competence versus speaking in a supporting manner. This study discovered the variety of ways mediators impacted the "dependent variables" of approval and reward systems, despite the fact that the consequences of the tone of voice on management reactions were conformable. In contrast to management's viewpoints on insecurity, its perspective on loyalty simply moderated the association in the tone of voice and the degrees of both support offered and perception of work efficiency. One explanation for such a trend in outcomes is that supervisors distinguish amongst the ones they perceive as faithful; this is deterministic of individuals likely to be rewarded, in contrast to those approaches that could likely jeopardise their institutional status; this demarcation drives the level of support and acceptance to any of the above-mentioned ideas. If an employee is thought to possess the ability to contribute positively to his/ her company, their manager may not support an initiative for the reason of any possible harm it may pose but may nonetheless recognize them for their pro-active conduct (Liden et al., 1997). This generally affirms variances in two diverse categories of conclusions: 1) Degree of influence on supervisor due to a specific notion. 2) The ways in which supervisors generally gauge an individual’s ability to contribute to the notion.

Theoretical Contributions

This research's main benefit is explaining how speech can often result in good occurrences and sometimes cause undesired repercussions. Despite the fact that several researchers have investigated management responses and have revealed favorable occurrences linked to pro-social types of speech (Whiting et al., 2008), some have had varying unclear results (Van Dyne & LePine, 1998), while many also have demonstrated detrimental impacts (Seibert, Kraimer, & Crant, 2001). This study resolves these discrepancies by demonstrating that management responses rely on the qualities of the argument sent or the kind of voice used: raising voice in ways that are unsettling to supervisor’s results in adverse responses, whereas opting for supporting speech does not.

Firstly, we add to the body of evidence on the employee voice approach by examining how it relates to the level of LMX and employees' efficiency. The implications of employees' response-soliciting efforts are better understood as a function of the outcomes. Additionally, this research has inferences on the strategy behind building a top-notch LMX. Even though it has been proposed that any one of the managers or the employee can assist in establishing such an arrangement (Liden et al., 1997), earlier research has generally focused mostly on superiors' invocation of LMX via, for instance, developing suitable connections with every individual/ worker (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). This research suggests that by actively pursuing input/ responses from their superiors, employees might even play a preemptive place in creating better LMX.

The findings of this research respond to current requests in the voice domain to precisely define "voice content" (Brinsfield, Edwards, & Greenberg, 2009). Scholars have mostly focused on figuring out what makes workers participate in a particular sort of speech behavior over others (Liang, Farh, & Farh, 2012; Van Der Vegt et al., 2003), but hardly any study has looked at how managers react to various voice patterns. This research demonstrates that management's assessments of individuals vary based on how much the voice essentially questions the current order. The outcomes suggest that intellectuals must line up the extent of difficulty evaluated in their quantification of voice to this conceptual model by solely utilizing objects explicitly capturing the dynamic feature of voice. This is because the latest investigation of voice relates it to multitudes of challenges to the established order in its interpretations (Van Dyne & LePine, 1998).

The integration of social psychology models of persuasion, like the "elaboration likelihood model" and "organizational theories of voice," contributes to this study's outcomes. The main result of investigations in the regime of persuasion is the quantification of the degree of impact on the recipient by a source, along with enlightening the distinctive quality of "persuasion theories," which states that message features can impact this influence process (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). This research provides insight into the effectiveness of impact attempts and the assessment of those who trigger them (Levine, 1989). Moreover, while efficiency assessments have been taken into account by voice investigators, as a result, more focus should be placed on the extent to which voice participants can convince managers to agree with their proposals. The research amalgamates two significant contexts of analysis addressing analogous trends and demonstrating how the tone/ type of voice significantly influences the ideas in gaining organizational affirmation. Also focuses on the ways supervisors evaluate individuals raising their voices. This research also demonstrates that management's reactions to such influence tactics rely heavily on the extent to which they challenge the established order and the factors responsible for maintaining it.

The psychological mechanisms underpinning management reactions to voice are better understood because of these discoveries. Results indicate that threat regulates the association involving voice and the degree of management support, while loyalty unfailingly regulates the connection between voice and aggregate workers' productivity. Such tendency raises the notion that management decides which individuals to reward based on their desire to help the company, as well as contradicting the fact that they prefer which proposals to support based on how the proposed changes would directly affect them. For instance, considering a specific concern, a supervisor may not support a suggestion due to its interpersonal implications. Yet, nevertheless, the individual may still be rewarded for recognizing the initiative for making the suggestion. This research could assist in explaining apparently incongruous discoveries, such as the possibility that participation in voicing may not actually affect how an institution operates but benefits the participants (Whiting et al., 2008).

Practical Contributions

The research offers further proof that supervisors could be more open to passive types of interaction. In other words, management responds more favorably to a voice that is collaborative through becoming gradual as well as transitioning to a lower degree. This argument directly contradicts the belief that preemptive types of voice are often the most beneficial for environmental transformation success at workplaces (Whiting et al., 2008). Furthermore, limited empirical study has been done to pinpoint the processes through which particular preemptive activities result in advantageous results as opposed to undesired ones. According to my research, management responses to voice are influenced by psychological processes of "loyalty" and "threats" in several ways: While loyalty affects aggregate productivity ratings as well as represents "broad pro-social ideals" intended to help a company, whereas the degree to which the ideas pitched intimidate supervisors' individual stature at the workplace constitute threats.

The fact that the preemptive approach -generally and employee voice - particularly may not always be linked to better LMX is a core challenge. The analysis shows that these activities are only favorably associated with interactions amongst higher-ups and employees only if the leader considers that the employee voice is meant to boost support instead of a challenge. The findings aid employees in realizing that managers do not always consider employee voice beneficial, so they instead lay emphasis on work-oriented endeavors (Whiting et al., 2008). Managers must also possess the knowledge and expertise necessary to correctly discern the motivations driving employees' preemptive actions. It is well established that partiality of perceptions, preconceptions, and misconceptions might affect how managers view their staff members (Spector & Jex, 1991).

Limitations and Future Research Directions

This research has limitations, just like all others. Firstly, cross-sectional research cannot be used to establish definitive causality, and reverse causation cannot be excluded. It's conceivable that a superior LMX may motivate employees to speak more often. Intellects have discovered that workers speak more frequently when their leaders are accommodating (Elsetouhi, Hammad, Nagm, & Elbaz, 2018); in addition, the approach of soliciting for responses is positively correlated with collaborative cooperation, regard for subordinates' opinions in addition to, concern towards their sentiments (Mowbray, Wilkinson, & Herman, 2020). Longitudinal investigations are hence required to establish causality with certainty.

Despite the fact that this paper defined "challenging voice" as an initiative that significantly contests the existing system as well as factors responsible for maintaining it, we were incapable of distinguishing between the impacts of expressly/ openly questioning practises prevailing in a work environment and the implications of expressly/ openly contesting a supervisor's preferred options. The operationalizations of challenging voice also cover challenging one's supervisor. Furthermore, supervisors could consider people who use supporting voices to be ingratiating (Bolino, 1999). Even though the first study allays this worry by gauging the general frequency of challenging voice instead of a particular instantiation connected to one subject, it, nevertheless, raises doubts concerning if an employee's use of challenging voice, provided that his or her supervisor wants to transform the established order as well (or does not include a direct stake in doing so) would produce the same outcomes.

Like any other kind of communication, a "challenging and supportive voice" could be presented in a variety of ways, including “through substance, manner, and tone" (Ashcraft, Kuhn, & Cooren, 2009). Even though the focus of my research has been on the premise that supporting and challenging voices have dissimilar content, these voices' styles and tones may also have an impact on management reactions. For example, a person's communication style, or the particular words they choose and the manner in which they express themselves "verbally or nonverbally" (Norton, 1978), that can be expressed as a strong voice and assertive displays or more reserved, relatively weak patterns of speech to transmit variations (Fragale, 2006), may affect how receptive supervisors are to employee opinions. Furthermore, the intonation of a supportive and challenging voice may alter, eliciting various management responses. Individuals' outcomes may be aggressive when managers use more antagonistic, harsh, discourteous, or impersonal tones, or those that indicate anger or other prevailing emotions (Ambady, Koo, Rosenthal, & Winograd, 2002), as opposed to ones that are gentler, more collaborative, and cautious (Ridgeway, 1987). Additional research must keep looking into the distinctive traits of "supporting and challenging voice" in regard to content as well as the ways in which style and tone may alter the correlation between voice content and management responses. Despite the restricting constraints of this study, the results enlighten the correlations amongst LMX and employee voice approaches with LMX as well as the impact of managers' perceptions of employees' reasons for speaking up, keeping in consideration both factors of quality of LMX and the employees' idea endorsement.