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Call for Papers: Employee Voice and the Digitalization of Work


Over the past four decades, scholars from employment relations, human resource management, organisational behaviour and labour economics have published a vast body of literature concerning employee voice (Wilkinson & Fay, 2011). Employee voice is thereby understood as the opportunity to participate in organisational decision-making and to have a say to influence the own work and the interests of managers and owners (Barry &Wilkinson, 2016) or – in the case of employee silence – to withhold these views and concerns (Morrison & Milliken, 2003). Employee voice and silence have been linked to organisational performance and the development of competitive advantage (Barry & Wilkinson, 2016) and are a key ingredient for the positive relationship between strategic human resource management and organisational performance (Wood & Wall, 2007) which also implies a link between employee voice and innovation. Employees with the opportunity to communicate individual ideas to management and to participate in decision-making give them the possibility to express ‘creative ideas and new perspectives, increasing the likelihood of innovation’ (Grant, 2013, p. 1703; Zhou & George, 2001).

Recently, scholars are paying more attention to current topics and relate them to employee voice. One stream of research is addressing the advancing technologies and consider the digital revolution and its impact on employee voice. There is no doubt that digital technology is fundamentality changing the way we do business (Mennie, 2015) and in consequence forms, tools and channels ‘voice’. The few studies on employee voice and digitalisation are mainly dealing with social media at work and its opportunities for management to get in dialogue with employees. Holland, Cooper, and Hecker (2019), for instance, discuss conceptual issues and opportunities social media provides in the development of employee voice. In a similar vein, Barnes, Balnave, Thornthwaite, and Manning (2019) show how a union’s use of social media might facilitate greater member participation and engagement. However, more empirical evidence and conceptual considerations are needed to better understand and explain digitalisation and employee voice (or: ‘e-voice’).

Therefore, the aim of the special issue of management revue – Socio-Economic Studies is to focus on digitalisation at work and its challenges and opportunities for employee engagement, voice and silence in cross-disciplinary discussions. We welcome empirical studies as well as theoretical papers. Some context to discuss are listed below:

  • To what extent do technologies impact employee voice and silence?
  • To what extent do employees make use of technology to ‘raise their voice’?
  • What role do trade unions play when it comes to electronic (e.g., social media) employee voice?
  • What is the impact of electronic (e.g., social media) voice on traditional mechanisms of employee voice?
  • What is the effectiveness of electronic (e.g., social media) voice? How does it compare to the outcomes of traditional mechanisms?
  • Why do electronic (e.g., social media) employee voice systems fail?
  • What is the ‘dark side’ of electronic (e.g., social media) employee voice/silence?

These are just some ideas and not an exhaustive list.


Full papers for this special issue of management revue – Socio-Economic Studies must be submitted by 31 October 2020. All contributions will be subject to double-blind review. Papers invited to a ‘revise and resubmit’ are due 31 March 2021. The publication is scheduled for issue 1/2022. Please submit your papers electronically via the online submission system at http://www.mrev.nomos.de/ using ‘SI Employee Voice’ as article section.

Manuscript length should not exceed 10,000 words (excluding references) and the norm should be 30 pages in double-spaced type with margins of about 3 cm (1 inch) on each side of the page. Further, please follow the guidelines on the journal’s website (http://www.mrev.nomos.de/guidelines/).

Guest Editors

Simon Fietze, University of Southern Denmark
Sylvia Rohlfer,  Colegio Universitario de Estudios Financieros (CUNEF), Spain
Wenzel Matiaske, Helmut-Schmidt-University/University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg, Germany


Barnes, A., Balnave, N., Thornthwaite, L., & Manning, B. (2019). Social media: Union communication and member voice. In P. Holland, J. Teicher, & J. Donaghey (Eds.), Employee voice at work (pp. 91–111). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2820-6_5
Barry, M., & Wilkinson, A. (2016). Pro-social or pro-management? A critique of the conception of employee voice as a pro-social behaviour within organizational behaviour. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 54(2), 261–284. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjir.12114
Grant, A. M. (2013). Rocking the boat but keeping it steady: The role of emotion regulation in employee voice. Academy of Management Journal, 56(6), 1703–1723. https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2011.0035
Holland, P., Cooper, B., & Hecker, R. (2019). Social media at work: A new form of employee voice? In P. Holland, J. Teicher, & J. Donaghey (Eds.), Employee voice at work (pp. 73–89). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2820-6_4
Mennie, P. (2015). Social media risk and governance: Managing enterprise risk. London: Kogan Page.
Morrison, E. W., & Milliken, F. J. (2000). Organizational silence: A barrier to change and development in a pluralistic world. Academy of Management Review, 25(4), 706–725. https://doi.org/10.2307/259200
Wilkinson, A., & Fay, C. (2011). New times for employee voice? Human Resource Management, 50(1), 65–74. https://doi.org/10.1002/hrm.20411
Wood, S. J., & Wall, T. D. (2007). Work enrichment and employee voice in human resource management-performance studies. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18(7), 1335–1372. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585190701394150
Zhou, J., & George, J. M. (2001). When job dissatisfaction leads to creativity: Encouraging the expression of voice. Academy of Management Journal, 44(4), 682–696. https://doi.org/10.5465/3069410