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Dissent in Organizations

Jeffrey W. Kassing

Subject Communication Studies » Organizational Communication

Key-Topics conflict

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Employee dissent occurs when employees express their disagreement or contradictory opinions about workplace policies and practices to various audiences. The most notable and obvious cases of dissent occur when employees engage in whistleblowing by dissenting to industry regulatory bodies, the media, or both. However, not all employees feel the need to voice their concerns in this manner. Rather, employees often express their dissent within organizations either directly to their supervisors, often referred to as upward dissent, or to their co-workers, known as lateral dissent. Additionally, employees may choose to speak with family and nonwork friends about their concerns, by engaging in displaced dissent ( Kassing 1997, 1998 ). Initial conceptualizations differentiated personal-advantage dissent from principled dissent , with the former referring to dissent expressed as a means for some personal gain and the latter as dissenting in order to correct some matter of ethical or moral concern ( Graham 1986 ). Further exploration into these distinctions revealed that the two were not as discrete as previously thought and in fact often overlapped or coexisted ( Hegstrom 1999 ). Later models of dissent moved away from a content focus and toward an audience focus by recognizing that employees could dissent to various people besides managers ( Kassing 1997 ). This body of work considers ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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