Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 479–493 | Cite as

The Usefulness of Tenacity in Spurring Problem-Focused Voice: The Moderating Roles of Workplace Adversity

  • Dirk De ClercqEmail author
  • Imanol Belausteguigoitia
Original Paper



Drawing from conservation of resources theory and affective events theory, this article examines the hitherto unexplored relationship between employees’ tenacity levels and problem-focused voice behavior, as well as how this relationship may be augmented when employees encounter adversity in relationships with peers or in the organizational climate in general.


The study draws on quantitative data collected through a survey administered to employees and their supervisors in a large manufacturing organization.


Tenacity increases the likelihood of speaking up about problem areas, and this relationship is strongest when peer relationships are characterized by low levels of goal congruence and trust (relational adversity) or when the organization does not support change (organizational adversity). The augmenting effect of organizational adversity on the usefulness of tenacity is particularly salient when it combines with high relational adversity, which underscores the critical role of tenacity for spurring problem-focused voice behavior when employees negatively appraise different facets of their work environment simultaneously.


The results inform organizations that the allocation of personal energy to reporting organizational problems is perceived as particularly useful by employees when they encounter significant adversity in their work environments.


This study extends research on voice behavior by providing a better understanding of the likelihood that employees speak up about problem areas, according to their levels of tenacity, and explicating when this influence of tenacity tends to be more prominent.


Voice behavior Tenacity Workplace adversity Conservation of resources theory Affective events theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Goodman School of BusinessBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada
  2. 2.Small Business Research CentreKingston UniversityKingston-Upon-ThamesUK
  3. 3.Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)Mexico CityMexico

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