The 3 forms of organisational dissent

The 3 forms of organisational dissent

This is the 2nd of a 4 part series looking at research into what happens when people in organisations feel aggrieved and how the research shows, managers should deal with it.

Part 1 Psychological Contract Breaches & 3 Types of Employee Dissent

Part 2 The 3 Forms of Organisational Dissent (This part)

Part 3 The 5 Different Dissent Strategies

Part 4 Management Responses

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3 forms of organisational dissent

The nature of dissent within organisations is considered to take one of three forms:

  1. Articulated dissent, where an employee vocalises their disagreement or unhappiness with their supervisors or manager. This may be done constructively as feedback or destructively as complaint.
  2. Latent dissent involves an employee vocalising their disagreement or unhappiness with the situation to their co-workers or others who can have no ameliorating impact on the situation.
  3. Displaced dissent where an employee vocalises their unhappiness with external entities such as their family, friends or even in extreme cases the press for example. These days obviously, a common channel for displaced dissent tends to be social media.

Obviously dissent can also be voiced silently by passive aggressive behaviours, withdrawal, absenteeism and even retaliation.
Issues that surround the development of a psychological contract can range from pay and reward through to the expectation of fairness, open and honest communication, respect and flexibility. These expectations can be formed not only with the organisation as an entity but also with their own manager or supervisor for example.

It is typical for psychological contract breaches to be perceived particularly during organisational change situations.
Obviously organisations may commit such a breach either knowingly or unknowingly. A common situation where an organisation decides to renege on an obligation is during a downturn in the market where the organisation finds itself unable to fulfil the promises it made to its employees during better times. How this is handled by the organisation will either give rise to feeling of a psychological contract breach and thus spark dissent, or will be understood by the employees and the change in situation will be accepted.

In the next article (Part 3 of 4) I will look at The 5 Different Dissent Strategies.


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David Wilkinson

  • Claire Baum says:

    I think we have all three where I work! Thank you for these, they are very instructive.

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