Employee Silence: Commitment to Status Quo among Liberals and Conservatives with High Social Dominance

Main Article Content

Sania Usmani
T. Ramayah


Many employees want to either retain their jobs or attain promotion. In doing so, they remain silent and conform to all the decisions taken by the top management. Most studies have treated the causes of this silence as unobserved intervening mechanisms and named them black boxes. The current study therefore, aims to explore those unobserved psychological characteristics of employees. More specifically, it examines the employee’s psychological ideology, namely liberalism and conservatism in affecting commitment to status quo mediated by employee silence and moderated by social dominance. This study proposes that employee ideologies (liberalism and conservatism) affect their voicing behaviour and ultimately their resistance or acceptance to the status quo. Data from 219 faculty members from different universities in Karachi, Pakistan was gathered. The study hypothesised that liberals will tend to voice their opinions and resist the managements status quo while conservatives tend not to voice their opinions and endorse status quo, and they accept management’s decision and will not question their actions. The results showed that liberals have an indirect relationship with silence, namely they do not remain silent. Additionally, silence had an indirect relationship with status quo. Even though they are silent it does not mean they endorse status quo. Further, it was found that silence mediates the relationship between liberals and commitment to status quo. It was also found that conservatives also endorsed status quo but there was no relationship between conservatives and silence. Further, silence did not mediate the relationship between conservatives and status quo. Moreover, social dominance orientation strengthens or moderates the relationship between silence and status quo.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Sania Usmani, & T. Ramayah. (2023). Employee Silence: Commitment to Status Quo among Liberals and Conservatives with High Social Dominance. Asian Academy of Management Journal, 28(1), 377–407. https://doi.org/10.21315/aamj2023.28.1.15
Original Articles


Al-Hawari, M. A., Bani-Melhem, S., & Quratulain, S. (2020). Abusive supervision and frontline employees’ attitudinal outcomes: The multilevel effects of customer orientation. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32(3), 1109–1129. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-06-2019-0510

Aquino, K., & Reed II, A. (2002). The self-importance of moral identity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(6), 1423–1440. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.83.6.1423

Arain, G. A., Sheikh, A., Hameed, I., & Asadullah, M. A. (2017). Do as I do: The effect of teachers’ ethical leadership on business students’ academic citizenship behaviours. Ethics & Behaviour, 27(8), 665–680. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508422.2016.1272457

Bäck, E. A., & Lindholm, T. (2014). Defending or challenging the status quo: Position effects on biased intergroup perceptions. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 2(1), 77–97. https://doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v2i1.158

Behr, H., & Fehre, K. (2019). CEO succession and the CEO’s commitment to the status quo. Business Research, 12(2), 355–381. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40685-018-0064-4

Bhatti, G. A., & Ahmed, A. (2021). Suffering silence and turnover intentions while exposed to workplace bullying: The role of psychological distress. Pakistan Social Sciences Review, 5(2), 1151–1165. https://pssr.org.pk/issues/v5/2/suffering-silence-and-turnover-intentions-while-exposed-to-workplace-bullying-the-role-of-psychological-distress.pdf.

Boadi, E. A., He, Z., Boadi, E. K., Antwi, S., & Say, J. (2020). Customer value co- creation and employee silence: Emotional intelligence as explanatory mechanism. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 91, 102646. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-12-2021-1528

Bonanno, G. A., & Jost, J. T. (2006). Conservative shift among high-exposure survivors of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 28(4), 311–323. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15324834basp2804_4

Brinsfield, C. T. (2013). Employee silence motives: Investigation of dimensionality and development of measures. Journal of Organizational Behaviour, 34(5), 671–697. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.1829

CEIC (2019). More indicators for Pakistan. https://www.ceicdata.com/en/country/pakistan

Chiu, S. C. S., Pathak, S., Hoskisson, R. E., & Johnson, R. A. (2020). Managerial commitment to the status quo and corporate divestiture: can power motivate openness to change? The Leadership Quarterly, 101459. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2020.101459

Cohen, R. L. (1990). Justice, voice and silence. [Conference presentation]. International Conference on Social Science and Social Dilemmas, Utrecht.

De Dreu, C. K., Kluwer, E. S., & Nauta, A. (2008). The structure and management of conflict: Fighting or defending the status quo. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 11(3), 331–353. https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430208090646

Detert, J. R., & Edmondson, A. C. (2011). Implicit voice theories: Taken-for-granted rules of self-censorship at work. Academy of Management Journal, 54(3), 461–488. https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2011.61967925

Dong, X. T., & Chung, Y. W. (2020). The mediating effect of perceived stress and moderating effect of trust for the relationship between employee silence and behavioural outcomes. Psychological Reports, 124(4). https://doi.org/10.1177/0033294120942914

Dyne, L. V., Ang, S., & Botero, I. C. (2003). Conceptualizing employee silence and employee voice as multidimensional constructs. Journal of Management Studies, 40(6), 1359–1392. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6486.00384

Echebarria?Echabe, A., & Fernández?Guede, E. (2006). Effects of terrorism on attitudes and ideological orientation. European Journal of Social Psychology, 36(2), 259–265. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.294

Etikan, I., Musa, S. A., & Alkassim, R. S. (2016). Comparison of convenience sampling and purposive sampling. American Journal of Theoretical and Applied Statistics, 5(1), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ajtas.20160501.11

Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error: Algebra and statistics. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(3), 382–388. https://doi.org/10.2307/3150980

Franke, G., & Sarstedt, M. (2019). Heuristics versus statistics in discriminant validity testing: A comparison of four procedures. Internet Research, 29(3), 430–447. https://doi.org/10.1108/IntR-12-2017-0515

Gabel, J. (2020). The Correlation Between Employee Silence and Psychological Needs Within the Public Sector (Publication No. 28255418) [Doctoral dissertation, Grand Canyon University]). https://www.proquest.com/openview/b0232da0c28b50d4a77a940736491c23/1?cbl=18750&diss=y&pq-origsite=gscholar

Gefen, D., Straub, D., & Boudreau, M. C. (2000). Structural equation modeling and regression: Guidelines for research practice. Communications of the association for information systems, 4(1), 7. https://doi.org/10.17705/1CAIS.00407

Geletkanycz, M. A. (1997). The salience of ‘culture’s consequences’: The effects of cultural values on top executive commitment to the status quo. Strategic Management Journal, 18(8), 615–634. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1097-0266(199709)18:8<615::AID-SMJ889>3.0.CO;2-I

Graham, J., Haidt, J., Koleva, S., Motyl, M., Iyer, R., Wojcik, S. P., & Ditto, P. H. (2013). Moral foundations theory: The pragmatic validity of moral pluralism. Advances in experimental social psychology, 47, 55–130. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-407236-7.00002-4

Graham, J., Haidt, J., & Nosek, B. A. (2009). Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(5), 1029. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015141

Guide Jr, V. D. R., & Ketokivi, M. (2015). Notes from the Editors: Redefining some methodological criteria for the journal. Journal of Operations Management, 37(1), v–viii. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0272-6963(15)00056-X

Haidt, J. (2012). The righteous mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion. New York: Pantheon.

Haidt, J., Graham, J., & Joseph, C. (2009). Above and below left–right: Ideological narratives and moral foundations. Psychological Inquiry, 20(2–3), 110–119. https://doi.org/10.1080/10478400903028573

Haidt, J. (2008). Morality. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3, 65–72. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6916.2008.00063.x

Haidt, J., & Graham, J. (2007). When morality opposes justice: Conservatives have moral intuitions that liberals may not recognize. Social Justice Research, 20(1), 98–116. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11211-007-0034-z

Haidt, J., & Joseph, C. (2004). Intuitive ethics: How innately prepared intuitions generate culturally variable virtues. Daedalus, 133(4), 55–66. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20027945

Haidt, J., & Hersh, M. A. (2001). Sexual morality: The cultures and reasons of liberals and conservatives. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 31, 191–221. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2001.tb02489.x

Hair Jr, J. F., Howard, M. C., & Nitzl, C. (2020). Assessing measurement model quality in PLS-SEM using confirmatory composite analysis. Journal of Business Research, 109, 101–110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.11.069

Hambrick, D. C., Geletkanycz, M. A., & Fredrickson, J. W. (1993). Top executive commitment to the status quo: Some tests of its determinants. Strategic Management Journal, 14(6), 401–418. https://doi.org/10.1002/smj.4250140602

Hameed, I., Bhatti, Z. A., Khan, M. A., & Syed, S. (2020). How and when Islamic work ethic (IWE) leads to employee promotive and prohibitive voice? The interplay of employee moral identity and perceived voice opportunity. International Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Finance and Management, 13(4), 593–612. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMEFM-09-2019-0382

Hao, L., Zhu, H., He, Y., Duan, J., Zhao, T., & Meng, H. (2022). When is silence golden? A meta-analysis on antecedents and outcomes of employee silence. Journal of Business and Psychology, 37, 1039–1063. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-021-09788-7

Harquail, C. V., & Cox, T. (1993). Organizational culture and acculturation. Cultural Diversity in Organizations, 161, 176.

Hassan, S., DeHart?Davis, L., & Jiang, Z. (2019). How empowering leadership reduces employee silence in public organizations. Public Administration, 97(1), 116–131. https://doi.org/10.1111/padm.12571

Henseler, J., Ringle, C. M., & Sarstedt, M. (2015). A new criterion for assessing discriminant validity in variance-based structural equation modeling. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 43, 115–135. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-014-0403-8

Hirschman, A. O. (1970). Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States. Harvard University Press.

Ho, A. K., Sidanius, J., Kteily, N., Sheehy-Skeffington, J, Pratto, F., Henkel, K. E., Foels, R., & Stewart, A. L. (2015). The nature of social dominance orientation: Theorizing and measuring preferences for intergroup inequality using the new SDO7 scale. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109(6), 1003–1028. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000033

Hunter, J. D. (1991). Culture wars: The struggle to define America. New York: Basic Books.

Jiang, J., Gao, A., & Yang, B. (2018). Employees’ critical thinking, leaders’ inspirational motivation, and voice behaviour. Journal of Personnel Psychology, 17(1), 33–41 https://doi.org/10.1027/1866-5888/a000193

Jost, J. T., Glaser, J., Kruglanski, A. W., & Sulloway, F. J. (2003). Political conservatism as motivated social cognition. Psychological Bulletin, 129(3), 339–375. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.129.3.339

Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1982). The psychology of preference. Scientific American, 246, 160–173. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24966506

Kennedy, J. A., Kray, L. J., & Ku, G. (2017). A social-cognitive approach to understanding gender differences in negotiator ethics: The role of moral identity. Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 138, 28–44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2016.11.003

Kugler, M., Jost, J. T., & Noorbaloochi, S. (2014). Another look at moral foundations theory: Do authoritarianism and social dominance orientation explain liberal- conservative differences in “moral” intuitions? Social Justice Research, 27(4), 413–431. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11211-014-0223-5

Kwon, B., Farndale, E., & Park, J. G. (2016). Employee voice and work engagement: Macro, meso, and micro-level drivers of convergence? Human Resource Management Review, 26(4), 327–337. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrmr.2016.04.005

Liu, W., Zhu, R., & Yang, Y. (2010). I warn you because I like you: Voice behavior, employee identifications, and transformational leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 21(1), 189–202. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2009.10.014

Martin, D., & Bok, S. (2015). Social dominance orientation and mentorship: Mitigating hierarchical preference through work roles or just low expectations. Personnel Review, 44(4), 592–610. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-08-2013-0141

McAdams, D. P., & Pals, J. L. (2006). A new Big Fig: Fundamental principles for an integrative science of personality. American Psychologist, 61, 204–217. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.61.3.204

McClelland, P. L., Liang, X., & Barker III, V. L. (2010). CEO commitment to the status quo: Replication and extension using content analysis. Journal of Management, 36(5), 1251–1277. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206309345019

Milliken, F. J., Morrison, E. W., & Hewlin, P. F. (2003). An exploratory study of employee silence: Issues that employees don’t communicate upward and why. Journal of management studies, 40(6), 1453–1476. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6486.00387

Morrison, E. W. (2014). Employee voice and silence. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 1(1), 173–197. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-031413-091328

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/10.5465/amr.2000.3707697

Moasa, H. (2011). Voice and silence in organizations. Bulletin of the Transilvania University Of Bra?ov, Series VII, 4(53), 33–40.

Mousa, M., Chaouali, W., Aboramadan, M., Ayoubi, R., & Abdelgaffar, H. (2020). Effects of rectors’ narcissism on academics’ silence and commitment in the context of public universities. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 29(4), 974–988. http://doi.org/10.1108/IJOA-03-2020-2063

Nail, P. R., McGregor, I., Drinkwater, A. E., Steele, G. M., & Thompson, A. W. (2009). Threat causes liberals to think like conservatives. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(4), 901–907. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2009.04.013

Nechanska, E., Hughes, E., & Dundon, T. (2020). Towards an integration of employee voice and silence. Human Resource Management Review, 30(1), 100674. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrmr.2018.11.002

Nunnally, J. C. (1967). Psychometric theory (Eds.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Oyserman, D., & Schwarz, N. (2017). Conservatism as a situated identity: Implications for consumer behaviour. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 27(4), 532–536. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcps.2017.08.003

Park, J. Y., & Nawakitphaitoon, K. (2018). The cross-cultural study of LMX and individual employee voice: The moderating role of con?ict avoidance. Human Resource Management Journal, 28(1), 14–30. https://doi.org/10.1111/1748-8583.12158

Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Jeong-Yeon, L., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879–903. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.88.5.879

Prouska, R., & Psychogios, A. (2018). Do not say a word! Conceptualizing employee silence in a long-term crisis context. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 29(5), 885–914. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2016.1212913

Sendjaya, S., & Sarros, J. C. (2002). Servant leadership: Its origin, development, and application in organizations. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 9(2), 57–64. https://doi.org/10.1177/107179190200900205

Shah, S. R., Bibi, Z., Karim, J., & Mohammad, N. (2021). The changing face of employee silence in different organizational cultures affecting job engagement. Journal of Contemporary Issues in Business and Government, 27(1), 4375–4388. https://www.cibgp.com/article_10504_8fdefdeeec0b34429e92d35fa58dcbf5.pdf

Shmueli, G., Sarstedt, M., Hair, J. F., Cheah, J. H., Ting, H., Vaithilingam, S., & Ringle, C. M. (2019). Predictive model assessment in PLS-SEM: Guidelines for using PLSpredict. European Journal of Marketing. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-02-2019-0189

Sidanius, J., & Pratto, F. (2001). Social dominance: An intergroup theory of social hierarchy and oppression. Cambridge University Press.

Skubinn, R., & Herzog, L. (2016). Internalized moral identity in ethical leadership. Journal of Business Ethics, 133(2), 249–260. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-014-2369-3

Sowell, T. (2002). A conflict of visions: The ideological origins of political struggles. New York: Basic Books

Statista (2019). Pakistan: Total population from 2018 to 2028. https://www.statista.com/statistics/383245/total-population-of-pakistan/

Tangirala, S., & Ramanujam, R. (2009). The sound of loyalty: Voice or silence. In JG. Jerald, & S. E. Marissa (Eds.), Voive and silence in organizations (pp. 203–224). Emerald Publishing

Tangirala, S., & Ramanujam, R. (2008). Employee silence on critical work issues: The cross-level effects of procedural justice climate. Personnel Psychology, 61(1), 37–68. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2008.00105.x

Tumurbaatar, E. (2017). Different types of protean career attitude, task performance and contextual performance: Based on Briscoe and Hall’s Model. [Master’s Thesis]. National Taiwan Normal University. https://doi.org/10.6345/NTNU202203055

Ullrich, J., & Cohrs, J. C. (2007). Terrorism salience increases system justification: Experimental evidence. Social Justice Research, 20, 117–139. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11211-007-0035-y

Wang, H., Wu, W., Liu, Y., Hao, S., & Wu, S., (2016). In what ways do Chinese employees speak up? An exchange approach to supervisor–subordinate guanxi and voice behaviour. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 30(3), 479–501. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2016.1253030

Wang, Y. D., & Hsieh, H. H. (2013). Organizational ethical climate, perceived organizational support, and employee silence: A cross-level investigation. Human relations, 66(6), 783–802. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726712460706

Whiteside, D. B., & Barclay, L. J. (2013). Echoes of silence: Employee silence as a mediator between overall justice and employee outcomes. Journal of Business Ethics, 116(2), 251–266. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-012-1467-3

Wong, K. K. K. (2013). Partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) techniques using SmartPLS. Marketing Bulletin, 24(1), 1–32.

Wu, L., Wei, L., & Hui, C. (2011). Dispositional antecedents and consequences of workplace ostracism: An empirical examination. Frontiers of Business Research in China, 5(1), 23–44. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11782-011-0119-2

Zhu, H., Khan, M. K., Nazeer, S., Li, L., Fu, Q., Badulescu, D., & Badulescu, A. (2022). Employee voice: A mechanism to harness employees’ potential for sustainable success. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(2), 921. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020921