The Consequences of Ethical Voice Inside the Organization: An Integrative Review

Anjier Chen, Linda K. Treviño

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


To better understand the consequences of ethical voice in organizations, we have brought together multiple relevant literatures that focus on behaviors that fit our definition of ethical voice but have previously not been studied together, including internal reporting, social issue selling, ethical voice (in groups), moral objection, and confronting prejudice. Research across them has found both positive and negative responses to ethical voice. Further, emerging evidence suggests ambivalent attitudes and emotions toward ethical voice and voicers, hinting at more complex outcomes. However, a systematic understanding of when and why positive, negative, and more complex outcomes occur has remained elusive and is much needed. Building on empirical evidence, theory and research on ethical decision-making, self-enhancement/protection, and ambivalence, we offer an integrative theoretical framework to understand when and why ethical voice leads to targets’/observers’ support for, undermining of, and inaction/disengagement from ethical voice and the voicer. We propose a morally motivated process, an instrumentally motivated process, and emotional ambivalence to explain these different responses. We also propose boundary conditions. We discuss our contributions and propose future directions for ethical voice research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1316-1335
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 2 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology

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