Loughborough University

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Enabling employee voice in small and medium enterprises: The role of trust and respect in the employment relationship

journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-13, 16:13 authored by Rea Prouska, Aidan McKearney, Alexandros PsychogiosAlexandros Psychogios, Leslie Szamosi
There is significant research on employee voice practices in large, often unionised, workplaces. Yet, there is scarcity of empirical evidence on voice practices in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), specifically on the intricate dynamics of the employee-owner/manager relationship at the micro-level and its connection with organisational employment relations (ER) and voice climates at the meso-level. This paper addresses this gap by examining these factors from the perspective of both employees and owners/managers in SMEs. It draws on 87 interviews in 29 non-unionised SMEs. Our findings reveal SMEs as sites where the role of owners/managers in setting the employment relationship and the ER climate, and consequently the voice climate, is magnified, with profound consequences for employee voice behaviours. Our findings contribute to employee voice theory by offering a conceptualisation of how voice may be enabled or hindered in SMEs, with a focus on the role of trust and respect in the employment relationship in influencing the ER climate, voice climate and, consequently, voice behaviours, thereby guiding further research and offering practical implications for HR practice in this respect.



  • Loughborough Business School

Published in

Human Resource Management Journal




  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: [FULL CITE], which has been published in final form at [Link to final article using the DOI]. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.

Acceptance date







  • en


Prof Alexandros Psychogios. Deposit date: 8 May 2024