Loaded Down From Speaking Up: A Resource-Based Examination of Voicer Regret Following Supervisor Delegation

Daniel W. Newton, Hudson Sessions, Chak Fu Lam, David T. Welsh, Wen Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


As the target of employee voice, supervisors have been depicted as the driving force behind enacting employee input. In reality, voicing employees often remain key players in the enactment process as supervisors may delegate implementation responsibilities to voicers. Although the voice literature suggests that voice enactment promotes subsequent voice by giving employees evidence that their voice fosters improvements, we suggest that supervisor delegation following employee voice can, instead, turn enactment into an unintended deterrent to voice. Integrating conservation of resources theory with theory on counterfactual thinking, we argue that supervisor delegation following employee voice elicits employee overload. Subsequently, counterfactual thinking about an avoidable increase in workload evokes regret for having spoken up. This regret leads to decreased voice as employees intentionally withhold input to protect personal resources. However, we theorize that supervisor consultation represents a cost-offsetting resource that attenuates the negative effects of supervisor delegation following employee voice. We find converging support for our theoretical model in a multi-wave field study and two experimental studies. This research offers novel insights into the personal costs of voice for employees by contextualizing voice within the voice-enactment process and revealing supervisor delegation as an unforeseen impediment to employee voice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Management
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • communication
  • employee voice
  • organizational citizenship behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


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