Breaking the chain of command: Making sense of employee circumvention

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This study explores how employees accounted for their engagement in circumvention (i.e., dissenting by going around or above one's supervisor). Employees completed a survey instrument in which they provided a dissent account detailing a time when they chose to practice circumvention. Results indicated that employees accounted for circumvention through supervisor inaction, supervisor performance, and supervisor indiscretion. In addition, findings revealed how employees framed circumvention in ways that enhanced the severity and principled nature of the issues about which they chose to dissent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-334
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Business Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Circumvention
  • Employee dissent
  • Employee voice
  • Sensemaking
  • Upward communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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