Voice for oneself: Self-interested voice and its antecedents and consequences

Jinyun Duan, Yue Xu*, Xiaotian Wang, Chia Huei Wu, Ying Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to introduce a concept of self-interested voice, or voluntarily expressed ideas, solutions, or concerns related to workplace issues that affect the voicer’s personal interests. Three studies were conducted. In the scale development study, we developed and validated a new measure of self-interested voice with a sample of 36 researchers for content validity and a sample of 362 employees for factorial and discriminant validity. In Study 1, we examined the antecedents and motivational pathways of self-interested voice. We proposed that perceived organizational politics (POP) can promote self-serving cognition, especially among those high in Machiavellian personality, and thus lead to self-interested voice. Our hypotheses were supported by results from time-lagged survey data from 262 employees and 117 supervisors in China. In Study 2, we extended the model by including the outcomes of self-interested voice. Using another Chinese sample (282 employees matched with 105 direct supervisors), we replicated the findings of Study 1 and additionally found that self-interested voice was negatively related to supervisors’ liking and suggested salary increases of the employees but not task performance and promotability. The implications for employee voice research are discussed. Practitioner points: Employees can send their voice concerning ideas, solutions, or concerns related to workplace issues that affect their personal interests. Perceived organizational politics (POP) is an important trigger of employee self-interested voice, especially among those high in Machiavellian personality. It is vital for managers to monitor the politicking climate in the workplace to reduce employees’ self-interested voice at work. While employees are likely to engage in self-interested voice to protect their interests when perceiving organizational politics, such behaviour will lead to negative reactions from supervisors, such as lower supervisor liking and more hesitation in suggesting salary increases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Machiavellian personality
  • perceived organizational politics
  • self-interested voice
  • self-serving cognition

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