IACMR Research Seminar Series #38

Title: The gendered costs of voice (un)enacted for belonging 
: Crystal Farh, University of Washington
: 9:00- 10:15 am, July 26, 2023 (China Time, UTC+8) 
Language: English


Despite their constructive intent, employees’ suggestions and concerns are often not enacted. In this paper, we consider the impact of voice enactment (and in particular, low voice enactment) on the voicer’s sense of belonging. Drawing on self-in-role theory (Kahn, 1990) and social belonging theory (Walton & Cohen, 2007), we argue that because voice employs and displays the self, voicers look to collective reactions to their voice—expressed through voice enactment—to inform whether the self fits in, is accepted, and valued. We further argue that the effect of voice enactment on belonging is strengthened for women in majority-men settings due to their heightened experience of social identity threat. Data from active-duty marines (Study 1) and employees of a maritime service organization (supplemental study) showed that low voice enactment reduced belonging more strongly for women compared to men in majority-men settings. Data from a randomized controlled experiment (Study 2) further showed that the strengthened relationship between voice enactment and belonging for women in majority-men settings was mediated through social identity threat. Altogether, our work highlights the asymmetrical cost of low voice enactment for women in majority-men settings, as well as its importance for equalizing belonging in gender-skewed organizations.

Crystal Farh is a professor of management in the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington in Seattle. She completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology with honors at Harvard College and received her doctorate in organizational behavior at the University of Maryland at College Park. Before joining the faculty at Foster in 2015, she served as an assistant professor at the Broad College of Business of the Michigan State University. Since 2021, she has served as the faculty director of Foster’s PhD Program. Crystal’s research interests lie in the areas of leadership and teams. Her research seeks to understand how leaders create an inviting and receptive environment for team members’ suggestions and concerns, which in turn can promote team effectiveness and individual member success. Crystal has examined this question in surgical teams, innovation project teams, military teams, and teams marked by gender and cultural diversity. Her work has been published in top-tier management and applied psychology journals, including the Academy of Management JournalAcademy of Management Review, and Journal of Applied Psychology. Crystal has won awards for her research, including the Frank T. Paine Award for outstanding research of a doctoral student at the University of Maryland (2011), the S. Rains Wallace Award for outstanding dissertation work from the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (2014), and the Western Academy of Management’s Ascendant Scholar Award for outstanding achievement in research, service, and teaching by an early career scholar (2017). She is currently an associate editor of the Academy of Management Journal and has served on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Review and the Journal of Applied Psychology.