• What's in a word? Using construal-level theory to predict voice endorsement

      Schreurs, Bert; Hamstra, Melvyn; Davidson, Tina (Academy of Management Proceedings, 2017)
      Employee voice is vital for organizational effectiveness, yet managers oftentimes disregard employees’ suggestions for constructive change. In this paper, we draw on construal level theory (CLT) to develop a model of when and why managers are more or less likely to endorse voice. According to CLT, being psychologically far removed from (vs. near to) an event or object makes people construe the event or object in a more abstract (vs. concrete) way, which, in turn, leads people to evaluate abstract (vs. concrete) information more positively. Accordingly, voice endorsement may be stronger in conditions where voice message and psychological distance to the sender converge (abstract/far and concrete/close) rather than diverge (abstract/close and concrete/far). We tested the construal fit hypothesis in three experiments using different operationalizations of psychological distance and voice abstractedness vs. concreteness. In Studies 1 and 2 we found that voice endorsement was stronger in construal-congruent conditions than in construal-incongruent conditions. In Study 3, we replicated this finding and demonstrated that ease of processing underlies the construal fit effect. Our theorizing and empirical results attest to the value and relevance of taking a construal-level perspective to further our understanding of voice endorsement.