Employees’ may view prohibitive voice—that is, expressing concerns about harmful practices in the workplace—as a moral yet interpersonally risky behavior. We, thus, predict that prohibitive voice is likely to be influenced by variables associated with moral and relational qualities. Specifically, we hypothesize that employees’ moral identity internalization—i.e., the centrality of moral traits in their self-concept—is positively associated with their use of prohibitive voice. Furthermore, we hypothesize that this association is stronger when employees enjoy a higher quality relationship with their leader (leader-member exchange). In addition, drawing on the literature on moral symbolism, we hypothesize that workgroup moral identity symbolization—i.e., the extent to which workgroup members symbolically display moral traits—moderates the relationship between moral identity internalization and prohibitive voice in a compensatory manner. That is, workgroup moral identity symbolization enhances employees’ use of prohibitive voice when employees’ moral identity internalization is low. Data collected from hospital employees and their supervisors and coworkers support these hypotheses. These findings suggest new ways to promote prohibitive voice and, thereby, protect organizational stakeholders from harmful behaviors.
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Salar Mesdaghinia declares he has no conflict of interest. Debra L. Shapiro declares she has no conflict of interest. Robert Eisenberger declares he has no conflict of interest. Sonya Stokes declares she has no conflict of interest.
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Mesdaghinia, S., Shapiro, D.L. & Eisenberger, R. Prohibitive Voice as a Moral Act: The Role of Moral Identity, Leaders, and Workgroups. J Bus Ethics 180, 297–311 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-021-04862-9