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Organizational Surveys: A System for Employee Voice

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Although surveys are often used to assess and track employee attitudes and opinions over time and are used quite frequently by applied communication researchers, the use of surveys as a channel to voice employee attitudes and opinions has not been fully explored in the employee voice or basic organizational communication literature. With the increased call for accountability, effective applied communication researchers can play an important role in ensuring that organizations engage in the survey process in a manner that is “safe” for employees, and ethical and practical for the organization. Because the question of how to accomplish this task is complex and cannot be fully addressed within the constraints of a commentary, I offer three general principles to guide future researchers in helping overcome organizational communication problems:Build trust in the organizational survey process, the researcher(s), and the organization.Eliminate the adversarial relationship that often exists between management and employees who speak up.Provide evidence that the organization does more than purport to value the things that it says it values.

Keywords: Employee Voice; Organizational Change; Organizational Communication; Survey Research

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2006

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