Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 296–319

Explaining Breadth and Depth of Employee Voice across Firms: A Voice Factor Demand Model


    • Department of EconomicsGeorgia State University
    • Centre for Work, Organization, and Wellbeing and Department of Employment Relations & Human ResourcesGriffith University

DOI: 10.1007/s12122-014-9185-5

Cite this article as:
Kaufman, B.E. J Labor Res (2014) 35: 296. doi:10.1007/s12122-014-9185-5


This paper develops a model which explains breadth and depth of firms’ demand for employee voice. The theory innovation is to model employee voice as a factor input in production and derive a voice demand curve. Differences in voice productivity determinants across firms act as shift factors and cause cross-section variation in voice demand curves which translates into an empirically observable voice frequency distribution. Insights from institutional economics are incorporated to show that transition from a nonunion to union form of voice may cause a large discontinuity in the demand curve. Other contributions include: sharpened definition and delineation of the employee voice construct, use of the voice frequency distribution as a dependent variable in empirical research, graphical representation of the firm’s benefit-cost choice of voice, distinction between employee voice as communication and influence (muscle) and graphical demonstration of conditions under which one is preferred to the other, clarification of the participation/representation gap concept, and policy insights regarding pros and cons of the regulation of employee voice in American labor law.


Employee voice Voice theory Nonunion voice Union voice Company unions Institutional economics

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014