Responses to Organizational Mandates: How Voice Attenuates Psychological Reactance and Dissent

Willona O. Olison, Michael Elwood Roloff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Organizations sometimes create policies that restrict the decision freedom of their members. When doing so, they might create psychological reactance and dissent. This study examines whether providing voice into a decision can reduce the likelihood that those affected by the decision perceive it as imposing on their rights, can have negative emotional reactions to its adoption, and can want to engage in organizational dissent. Undergraduate students were randomly assigned to read scenarios in which a university committee decided to recommend that a university-wide, mandatory, comprehensive exit examination requirement be adopted after a student group either supported the requirement or opposed it. The results confirmed an indirect path between voice and dissent that flowed through perceived imposition on students' rights and negative emotional reactions to the adoption of the requirement. The limitations of the study and implications of the results for theory and research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-216
Number of pages13
JournalCommunication Research Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012


  • Dissent
  • Psychological Reactance
  • Voice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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