Amplifying the voices of others

A recent Forbes headline caught my attention: “Want a career boost? Try speaking up for someone else.” The article by Josie Cox spotlights new research showing that employees who advocate for a colleague’s ideas are not only helping out that colleague, but they’re also reaping benefits themselves by advocating for their peer.

The study titled “Amplifying Voice in Organizations” defines amplification as a “public endorsement of another person’s contribution, with attribution to the original endorser.” It could be as simple as pointing out a colleague’s good ideas during a meeting and recommending others consider those ideas. Darcy Gray

“In theory, when employees voice suggestions for organizational improvement, they should not only contribute to organizational success but also gain status,” the study notes. “In practice, however, voicers can go unrecognized and underutilized.”

The research concludes “peers may be an overlooked resource,” with employees attaining higher status when a peer amplifies their voice.

“Importantly, amplifiers benefit as well, attaining higher status than if they had stayed quiet, promoted their own ideas or even suggested new ideas,” the researchers say.

The research was conducted by Kristin Bain of the Rochester Institute of Technology, Tamar A. Kreps of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Nathan L. Meikle of the University of Kansas School of Business, and Elizabeth R. Tenney of the University of Utah.

– Darcy Gray, WPC president

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