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"Employees' Safety Voice in the Workplace" Symposium


Voicing for Workplace Safety:

Factors that Foster (or Hinder) Employees Speaking-Up about Safety

Chairs: Prof. Stacey Conchie (Lancaster University) & Dr Matteo Curcuruto (Leeds Beckett University)

Discussant: Prof. Sharon Clarke (University of Manchester)

Moderator: Dr Jim Morgan (Leeds Beckett University)


Symposium Rationale

Safety voice is the act of communicating about safety to prevent physical harm from hazardous situations in the workplace. Its role in reducing accidents is recognised by academics and practitioners, and research has started to identify a limited number of antecedents. This symposium extends this body of knowledge by considering additional mediating processes and contextual, individual and cultural moderators that may shape voice behaviours. The first paper by Lyubykh and colleagues examines voice in the context of safety participation. Through a systematic meta-analysis, they show the impact of specific behavioural dimensions of leadership (change-, relational-, and task- orientated, passive and destructive) on participation, and how these change depending on safety risk levels. Burns continues our focus on leadership, but distinguishes voice from affiliative behaviours. He expands on existing published models of leadership-voice to consider risk perceptions; and asks the question of how these constructs fit together in high-power distance cultures. The third paper by Silva and colleagues focuses on the role of safety training in promoting safety voice. Their work emphasises the importance of increased knowledge and climate perceptions, and the role of motivation in transmitting their effects to behaviour change. The focus on safety climate and motivation continues with Bazzoli and colleagues in their finer grained analysis of specific voice behaviours categorised as promotive, preventive and prohibitive. Through multi-level analysis, they show the role of safety climate in promoting voice behaviours and explain these effects through pro-active goal regulation. The final paper by Reader and colleagues moves us along in the causal chain to consider what happens between safety voice and accidents. Reader and colleagues emphasise the importance of listening behaviours. They show the importance of not only promoting safety voice among employees, but also equipping them with skills in how to recognise and respond to such behaviours.  

Research/Practical Implications

The symposium develops our theoretical understanding of safety voice by examining additional processes through which organizational factors (e.g., leadership, safety climate) have their effect on safety voice behaviours. It also starts to examine a range of moderators that can impact these effects and which may need to be considered in future theoretical and practical work. Moreover, at a practical level, the symposium emphasises the important point that promoting a culture of safety voice can only go so far. Safety voice should be coupled with skills in how to handle communications about safety in order to achieve maximum effectiveness in accident prevention.  

Overall conclusions

This symposium offers a richer understanding of safety voice, which highlights the important role played by specific leadership behaviours, climate perceptions, risk perceptions, motivation and factors outside of the individual or team, in their promotion. It also identifies important concomitant skills that can enhance their effectiveness in reducing accidents. 


List of contributors:

  • Prof Stacey Conchie, University of Lancaster (presenter co/chair)
  • Prof Sharon Clarke, University of Manchester (discussant)
  • Prof Nick Turner, Calgary University
  • Dr Calvin Burns, Greenwich University
  • Dr Tom Reader, London School of Economics
  • Dr Silvia Silva, Lisbon University
  • Andrea Bazzoli (PhD student), Washington State University
  • Zhanna Lyubykh (PhD student at Calgary University)


The registration link can be found here