The authors investigate the employee features that, alongside overall voice expression, affect supervisors’ voice recognition. Drawing primarily from status characteristics and network position theories, the authors propose and find in a study of 693 employees from 89 different credit union units that supervisors are more likely to credit those reporting the same amount of voice if the employees have higher ascribed or assigned (by the organization) status—cued by demographic variables such as majority ethnicity and full-time work hours. Further, supervisors are more likely to recognize voice from employees who have higher achieved status—cued by their centrality in informal social structures. The authors also find that even when certain groups of lower status employees speak up more, they cannot compensate for the negative effect of their demographic membership on voice recognition by their boss. The authors underscore how recognition of employee voice by supervisors matters for employees. It carries (mediates) the effects of voice expression and status onto performance evaluations 1 year later, which means that demographic differences in the assignment of credit for voice can serve as an implicit pathway for discrimination.
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