Exploring the Reality of Employee Voice in the Saudi Context: Evidence from the Private Sector

  •  Ayman Adham    


This research explores the current state of employee voice in the Saudi context with the aim of understanding workers’ behaviours and managers’ practices regarding participation and involvement in decision making. The empirical findings from the in-depth qualitative case study show that employees are barely heard by the line managers, and they are only informed of the decisions made by the management. The evidence reveals that only the highest managerial level is formally involved in decision making. On the other hand, participation does not take place at the department level with staff workers. The interviews show there is no place for discussions between staff workers and supervisors related to the workload, satisfaction, and wages. This has resulted in workers reducing efforts and noticeable and gradual increase in absenteeism and turnover. This article argues firms in Saudi Arabia can create a work environment that encourages line managers to be more receptive to employee voice. This can be achieved through forming labour committees and reducing the intensity of the authoritarian managerial style to allow for workers to convey their work-related concerns more openly and directly.

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