With calls for greater transparency in organisations following numerous corporate scandals, enabling effective worker voice is crucial for keeping organisations honest. It’s also fundamental to driving better job quality in the context of changing forms of work. Current approaches to employee voice tend to take a narrow perspective that does not consider individual needs, and is only taken into account if expressed through organisational mechanisms. However, people may use voice for their own purposes, such as building personal relationships and enhancing a sense of well-being, which exist outside official voice mechanisms and do not contribute directly to organisational goals.

This positioning paper explores alternative forms of voice and the implications for people management practice. We argue that traditional definitions of employee voice have been limited in their scope, and that understanding voice as a more holistic concept will enable organisations to create environments for people to have a meaningful voice at work.

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