Challenging the status quo in a non-challenging way: A dominance complementarity view of voice inquiry



Research has shown that narcissistic leaders are resistant to change that threatens their self-esteem. This dynamic presents a theoretical and practical puzzle as to how employees might secure voice endorsement from narcissistic leaders for their change-oriented initiatives. Drawing from dominance complementarity theory, we theorize that voice inquiry—expressing change-oriented suggestions in the form of a question—can increase voice endorsement among narcissistic leaders. When voice is expressed through inquiry, narcissistic leaders’ desire for self-importance is fueled such that they feel a greater sense of organization-based self-esteem (OBSE). In turn, leader OBSE is associated with increased perceptions of both voice constructiveness and leader-member exchange, and ultimately voice endorsement. We test our theoretical model in a multi-wave field study with 373 employees and 180 managers in a transportation company (Study 1). To demonstrate causality, we test the causal effect of voice inquiry and leader narcissism on leader OBSE in an experimental study with 206 leaders (Study 2). Our convergent findings demonstrate the value of speaking up in the form of a question to promote change particularly when leaders exhibit narcissistic characteristics

Zoom link:  

Meeting ID: 983 6238 5193