Employee voice and silence in multinational corporations in the mobile telecommunications industry in Nigeria

Jude Chukwuemeka Emelifeonwu*, Reimara Valk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this paper is to explore employee voice and silence in the mobile telecommunication industry in Nigeria.

An exploratory qualitative case study methodology was employed in this study. Participant selection was done through a purposeful intensity sampling technique, which resulted in 30 employees from two different multinational organizations and an indigenous organization taking part in in-depth interviews.

Findings show the presence of fear of victimization in the Nigerian workplace embellished by the Sub-Saharan culture and the state of the labor market, which resulted in employee silence. The study revealed that the implementation of culturally adapted employee voice mechanisms within organizations in the mobile telecommunication industry in Nigeria promotes employee voice and organizational performance, whereas a lack thereof results in organizational failure.

Research limitations/implications
A limitation is that the purposive sample of employees from three organizations in the mobile telecommunications industry only permits theoretical and analytic generalization.

Practical implications
A focus on the co-creation of a high-performance work environment and the development of a powerful employee value proposition would foster employee voice.

Social implications
It will enable multinationals operating in Nigeria understand better how to operate employee voice in order to obtain optimal performance from workers in Sub-Sahara Africa.

This paper contributes to the literature on employee/industrial relations by showing that a high-power-distance national culture and a high unemployment rate affect employee voice and silence, which brings to the fore the importance of adequate employee voice mechanisms through which employees express their voice in order to arrive at beneficial individual and organizational outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-252
Number of pages25
JournalEmployee Relations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • national cultures
  • Nigeria
  • labour market
  • employee voice
  • employee science


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