Nonlinear consequences of promotive and prohibitive voice for managers' responses: The roles of voice frequency and LMX

Xu Huang, Erica Xu, Lei Huang, Wu Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Departing from past research on managers' responses to employee voice, we propose and examine a nonlinear linkage between promotive/prohibitive voice and managers' evaluations of voicers (i.e., manager-rated voicers' promotability and overall performance). Drawing from social persuasion theory, we theorize that managers tend to give more positive evaluations to employees who engage in a moderate frequency of promotive/prohibitive voice than those who either rarely speak up or speak up very frequently. In Study 1, based on a sample from a Chinese bank, we found that leader-member exchange quality (LMX) moderated the inverted U-shaped linkage of prohibitive voice with manager-rated promotability of voicers, whereas the frequency of promotive voice was not related to promotability, irrespective of levels of LMX. In Study 2, using employee-reported voice frequency, rather than the manager-rated measures adopted in Study 1, we largely replicated the main findings of Study 1 based on a sample from an information technology firm in the United States. In Study 3, using another U.S. sample, from a financial services firm, we found that manager-perceived voice constructiveness mediated the curvilinear interactive effect of prohibitive voice (rather than promotive voice) and LMX on managers' evaluations of employees' overall performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1101-1120
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Consequences of voice
  • LMX
  • Prohibitive voice
  • Promotive voice
  • Social persuasion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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