I warn you because I like you: Voice behavior, employee identifications, and transformational leadership

Wu Liu, Renhong Zhu, Yongkang Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

310 Citations (Scopus)


Voice behavior refers to the behavior that proactively challenges the status quo and makes constructive changes. Previous studies have explored the antecedents of employees' voice behavior, but to whom employees are likely to voice their thoughts has remained rarely examined. We propose that voice behavior is target-sensitive and that there are two types of voice behavior: speaking out (voice toward peers) and speaking up (voice toward the supervisor). Transformational leadership facilitates both speaking out and speaking up. However, it produces effects on employees via different types of employee identifications. Specifically, social identification predicts only speaking out, while personal identification predicts only speaking up. In contrast, affiliative extra-role behavior is less target-sensitive, and transformational leadership influences affiliative extra-role behavior via both social identification and personal identification. We examined our hypotheses by collecting both self-reported and coworker data from 191 Chinese employees in different organizations. Our hypotheses gained general support from the data. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-202
Number of pages14
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


  • Extra-role behavior
  • Identification
  • Self-concept
  • Transformational leadership
  • Voice behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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