Delineating The Impact Of Organizational Dissent On Job Insecurity And Turnover Intention


The vitality of a communication environment has been seen as an important issue in organizational success in recent years. In particular, the creation of an environment in which employees can express freely their contradictory opinions can contribute to the development of the organization by providing early detection of potential problems and disagreements. With this regard, the aim of this study is to comprehensively discuss organizational dissent behavior and examine the relationship between organizational dissent behavior, job insecurity, and turnover intention. The data was obtained from 250 respondents actively working in different sectors and proposed research model has been analyzed through factor and reliability analysis, correlation and regression analysis. Results revealed that articulated dissent has a negative relationship with job insecurity and turnover intention while latent dissent is positively related to job insecurity and turnover intention. Additionally, job insecurity feeling of employees enhances their turnover intention. The study expands existing literature of organizational dissent, analyzing consequences of dissent behavior of employees.

Keywords: Organizational dissentJob insecurityTurnover intention


In today's business world, organizations recognize human capital as the essential source of achieving organizational success and goals thanks to movement from classical management approach to intellectual capital view. With these changes, organizations have been aware of the vitality of human for organizational survival, efficiency and gaining competitive advantage. In other words, organizations endeavoring for surviving in the highly competitive business world have a need to have opinions and suggestions of members of the organizations to overcome and manage the conditions and conditions accompanied by organizational change and development.

By virtues of increasing the efficiency and profitability of the organization, effective coordination among departments, providing necessary and accurate information to members of organization for the decision making process and facilitating the emanation of these decisions with employees and creating collaboration feeling; democratic organizational climate, open communication and participative decision-making system puts forward a critical way of achieving organizational goals (Bakan & Buyukbese, 2004). In this point, organizations should allow for the expression of the contradictory idea of employees as well as voicing the satisfaction with the organizational activities through their participative and democratic organizational culture in order to demonstrate their tolerance and encouragement for expression of dissatisfaction from the organizational process. In this context, organizational dissent behavior referring the expression of complaints, dissatisfaction or contradictory opinion should be seen as an opportunity for realizing and rectifying the operational failures by the organizations and requirement for creating and sustaining democratic organizational climate.

The literature has garnered many empirical findings stating the organizational dissent as a key feature of today's’ successful, effective and industry-leading organizations. On the other hand, it has been revealed that the members of the organization who can express their opposing views without being subjected to any pressure are more satisfied (Tutar & Sadykova, 2014) and identified (Kassing, 2000b) with organization and tend to present desired organizational outcomes compared with the members of the organization who do not have this possibility.

Drawing on the above discussion, purpose of this study is to delineate the impact of dissent behavior on the job insecurity feeling of employees and their turnover intention. Additionally, the study contributes to the literature in terms of being one the first study investigating dissent behavior, job insecurity and turnover intention in the same research model and examining the impact of dissent behaviors on job insecurity.

Literature Review and Theoretical Framework

Organizational Dissent

The term ‘organizational dissent’ refers to “an expression of disagreements and contradictory opinions that result from the experience of feeling apart from one’s organization” (Kassing, 1997, p. 311). In this point, the difference between dissent and voice behavior has brought in mind. Kassing (1998) explained that dissent is the enouncing the arguments about the contradictory situation and disagreement in the organizations. On the other hand, voice behavior signifies the satisfaction with participating the decision-making process, agreement and organizational support as well as the disagreements involving in dissent behavior.

With this regard, dissent behavior of the employees is classified as articulated, latent and displaced dissent (Kassing, 1998). The articulated dissent refers to the expression of contradictory opinions to the people in the organization who have a power of effecting organizational decisions and activities. Latent dissent occurs in the event of nonexistence of organizational environment supporting expression of disagreement about organizations and employees opt to share their ideas with ineffective people in decision making process of the organization while displaced dissent refers to expression of dissent and arguments to the people outside of the organization such as family members, nonwork friends and people outside of the organization. Another classification accentuates the way of sharing dissent messages and dissent behavior split up two categories. One of these sub-groups, boat rocking refers to sharing disagreement with people inside of the organization while whistleblowing focuses on sharing contradictory situations with people outside of the organization (Kassing & Avtgis, 1999, 2001; Kassing, 2000).

Considered as a process, dissent behavior has been stimulated with the perception of triggering events and defined as the reasons behind the dissent behavior as well. These triggering events may be an exhibition of unfair behavior towards employees and violation of their rights; organizational change regarding of organizations, relationship between them and their organizational environment; disregarding the participation of members to the decision making process; inefficiency in the organizations; problems arising from fulfilling responsibilities; inequity in resource allocation or unethical situation such as discrimination, racism, abusing authority and power (Kassing & Armstrong, 2002). In brief, dissent behavior prefaced with comprehension of the difference between employees’ expectations and the actual situation in the organization prompt employees to need of expressing and sharing opposing ideas about organizational practices and policies (Kassing & Armstrong, 2001). Finally, organizational dissent process ends up with an expression of dissent and reactions to issues inclining the dissent such as intention to leave, decrease in performance or increase in absenteeism rate.

At the point of specifying the factors affecting dissent behavior, studies have revealed that exhibition of dissent behavior by the organizational members is related to the individual, relational and organizational determinants (Kassing 2000; Kassing 2008). From the view of individual variables, the personality of the members of the organizations plays a role in exhibiting dissent behavior in terms of locus of control, verbal aggressiveness, and argumentativeness. In their study, Kassing and Avtgis (1999) stated that higher tendency to verbal aggressiveness is the predictor of the latent dissent due to the lack of discussion eventuality with top management. On the other hand, the locus of control concept points out perception of people whether the results of their behaviors are internal or external. Accordingly, individuals having an internal locus of control attribute the consequences of events to themselves while people having an external locus of control tend to ascribe the results of issues to external factors. Kassing and Avtgis (2001) demonstrated that employees having an internal locus of control tend to show articulated dissent behavior. Lastly, argumentativeness is the ability to express the contradictory issues witnessed in any situation or place whereby being more argumentative for the employees leads them to articulated dissent behavior (Kassing & Avtgis, 1999). Additionally, employees who have higher level engagement tend to show articulated dissent while the higher turnover intention of employees related to use of latent or displaced dissent behavior (Kassing et al., 2012). Employees’ burnout also predictor of the low level of using articulated dissent behavior because of isolating them from the organizational environment (Avtgis et al., 2007). On the other hand, employees working in nonmanagement status reported using significantly more latent dissent (Kassing & Armstrong, 2002) while age and work experience of employees have associated negatively with an expression of displaced dissent (Kassing & DiCioccio, 2004).

Another crucial factor having an impact on the dissent behavior is relational determinants which refer to the quality of the relationship between superiors, subordinates and organizational members generating relational network within the organizations. As such, strong superior-subordinate relationship is a predictor of the articulated dissent behavior (Kassing, 1997; Kassing & Avtgis, 1999) while employees who have the problem of developing good relations and interaction with managers choose to share their contradictory opinions with co-workers and show the latent dissent behavior (Kassing, 2000a). In this vein, having confidence in supervisors has impinged on their use of articulated dissent behavior (Payne, 2014).

Investigated in terms of organizational variables, organizational climate is one of these factors coupled with dissent behavior. Kassing (2008) accentuated that employees choose articulated dissent behavior in the organizational climate tolerating and encouraging the sharing the opinions. Meanwhile, organizational climate based on teamwork, participation in decision making and information sharing propel employees to share their contradictory opinions with their managers (Otken & Cenkci, 2015). Similarly, workplace freedom of speech has an impact on the use of articulated and latent dissent in the organization (Croucher, Zeng, Rahmani, & Cui, 2017). Organizational justice is also decisive in behaviors of the organizational members in the way of creating a perception of fairness in all organizational activities and decision-making process. Employees who have a notion about a higher level of fairness in the organizations tend to use the articulated dissent and reduce the use of displaced dissent behavior (Kassing & McDowell, 2008). Goodboy, Chory and Dunleavy (2008) found that perception of distributive and interpersonal justice reduces the use of latent dissent. Besides, organizational assimilation referring the integration of employees to organizational culture through the perception of familiarity with coworkers, familiarity with supervisors, recognition, involvement and job competency has an effect on the expressing dissent messages to managers and supervisors (Goldman & Myers, 2015).

Drawing on the above discussion, in this study we analyzed the effect of dissent behavior of employees on their turnover intention and job insecurity feeling to contribute enlightening the consequences of this behavior.

Organizational Dissent and Turnover Intention

The turnover intention of the workforce resulting from dissatisfaction in the work environment conduces not only to losing qualified labor but also incurring extra recruitment costs. Therefore, these arguments have made it inevitable for researchers to conduct scientific studies about the turnover intention to examine reasons behind this behavior.

Of all antecedents of turnover intentions, dissent behavior accompanied with discontentment feeling and thinking that sharing their ideas is unnecessary may lead to intention to leave (Kassing et al., 2012). In brief, lateral and displaced dissent behavior show indication of dissatisfaction with an organization which in turn may result in a feeling of intention to leave. However, other studies show that displaced dissent is common in less committed employees and high probability of leaving from the organizations (Kassing, 1998; Kassing, 2011). In the study of Cenkci and Otken (2014), findings showed that constructive upward dissent is a determinant of the intention to stay while questioning upward dissent and latent dissent is a predictor of the turnover intention. In the workplace having freedom of expression has lead employees to prefer articulated dissent (Kassing, 2006) and affected the turnover intention negatively because of creating the perception of being a part of an organization which considers participation to decision-making process, expression right of the workforce and requirements of the organizational democracy climate (Kassing, 1998). In the light of these arguments, it is anticipated that articulated dissent may have contributed to intention to stay. Therefore, we hypothesize that:

H1: There is a significant relationship between organizational dissent and turnover intention

Organizational Dissent and Job Insecurity

For today’s business world, potential workforce encounter with the probable risk of unemployment for many of the sectors besides organizations have to keep up with the war for talent. Defined as “perceived powerlessness to maintain desired continuity in a threatened job situation” (Greenhalgh and Rosenblatt, 1984; p.438), job insecurity is generally arises out of this risk, perception, and anxiety about losing existing job on the ground of regional or organizational macro-level variables (unemployment rate, downsizing, reorganization etc.), individual variables to determining the position (age, tenure, seniority etc.) and personality characteristics (locus of control, negative or positive affectivity etc.) (De Witte, 2005). Similarly, Kinnunen and Nätti (1994) found that relations of employees with their supervisors have reduced the insecurity feeling of the workforce.

Most of the organizations have promoted the expression of dissatisfaction from organizational activities while others have hindered and ignored these expressed contradictory situations. In these organizations, employees may tend to have a fear of retaliation and being perceived as adversarial as a result of dissent behavior (Kassing, 1997) and may raise the insecurity feeling of them about losing their jobs. In a similar vein, employees choosing the latent dissent behavior due to the lack of organizational environment supporting the expression of an opposing view feel more insecure because of being perceived as adversarial and also expressing their dissenting opinion to ineffective people in the decision-making process of the organization (Kassing, 1998). In this context, articulated dissent behavior referring interaction between employees and managers regarding of ability to express contradictory points and disagreement may also have contributed to security feeling of the workforce. Based on these earlier findings, we propose in this current study that:

H2: There is a significant relationship between organizational dissent and job insecurity.

Job Insecurity and Turnover Intention

Job insecurity arising from changes or uncertainty in a situation of downsizing, restructuring, reorganization, merger or acquisition has a negative effect on employees and organizations endeavor to find a way for preventing job insecurity perception and avoiding the creation of unintended consequences. In consequence of job insecurity, employees tend to show a lower level of satisfaction, commitment, involvement, trust, performance, organizational stress, physical and mental wellbeing (Ashford, Lee, & Bobko, 1989; De Witte, 2005).

In this context, job insecurity has been associated positively with the turnover intention (Sverke, Hellgren, & Näswall, 2002; Ito & Brotheridge, 2007; Ashford et al., 1989; Probst, 2005) while Emberland and Rundmo (2010) revealed that turnover intention cannot be predicted by the job insecurity directly but employees’ intention to leave has been affected by the job insecurity through decrease in organizational commitment and psychological well-being. Although, findings obtained from ten European countries showed that turnover intention stemming from insecurity varied country by country with regard to differences in labor market conditions but the interaction between security and intention to leave has been partially supported by the results (Laine et al., 2009). Another study conducted by Rosenblatt, Talmud, & Ruvio (1999) stated that males are perceptively more insecure than female employees and insecurity has conduced to intention to leave. To contribute the clarifying contradictory findings gained from previous research, we hypothesize the following (see figure 01 );

H3: There is a significant relationship between job insecurity and turnover intention.

Figure 1: Conceptual Research Model
Conceptual Research Model
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Research Method

Selection of Sample and Respondents Demographics

Data were collected from 250 respondents via online questionnaire consisting of questions including questions for determining demographic characteristics of the sample and questions for measuring organizational dissent, job insecurity and turnover intention of employees being members of different sectors in Turkey. Data collected from those 250 respondents were analyzed via SPSS package program and proposed hypotheses were tested through regression analysis.

The sample consisted of male (60.9%) and female (39.1%) with an average age of 38,5. 47.7% of respondents were graduated from the university while 28.5 % of them had a master degree and 51.5% of the sample were married.


The questionnaire consisted of 23 questions measuring organizational dissent, turnover intention and job insecurity with a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1, “strongly disagree” to 5 “strongly agree”. Gender, age, education, total work tenure, industries and department for which respondents work were asked for determining demographics information.

Organizational dissent was measured with the scale of Kassing (1998) consisting of 14 questions representing articulated and displaced dissent behavior. The scale of Ozçay (2011) for job insecurity consisted of 5 questions adopted from Ashford et al. (1989), Hellgren, Sverke and Isaksson (1999), and De Witte (2000) while the scale of Rosin and Korabik (1995) was used for measuring turnover intention with 4 questions.

Analysis and Results

In the exploratory factor analysis process, the suitability of data for factor analysis was tested. On the basis of Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy (KMO=,741 for dissent behavior; KMO=,774 for job insecurity; KMO= ,698 for turnover intention) and The Bartlett Sphericity test (p<0,001), which measures the consistency of item with variables for each scale, it was seen that the sample of the study was sufficient for factor analysis and the internal consistency of the statements included in the scale was provided.

Table 1 -
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After confirming the suitability of the data by these tests, factor analysis was performed by using the varimax rotation method and the principal component analysis method. As a result of the factor analysis, 8 items below 0.50 were excluded from the analysis because of weak factor loadings. Finally, 2 factors for organizational dissent and 1 factor for both job insecurity and turnover intention were obtained on the basis of eigenvalues. For the reliability of scales used in the study, Cronbach's Alpha values of the scales are α= ,77; α = ,75; α = ,76 and α = ,85 respectively for articulated dissent, latent dissent, job insecurity and turnover intention. Factor loadings of each item, the percentage of variance explained by each factor and Cronbach's Alpha values have been shown in Table 1 .

On the basis of Pearson Correlation Analysis results shown in Table 2 , there is a positive correlation between latent dissent and job insecurity while articulated dissent negatively correlates with job insecurity, additionally, latent dissent positively correlates with turnover intention while articulated dissent negatively correlates with turnover intention. Finally, there is a positive correlation between job insecurity and turnover intention.

Table 2 -
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Research hypotheses were tested by determining the effect of organizational dissent (articulated and latent dissent) (Model 1), job insecurity (Model 2) and turnover intention (Model 3) through multiple regression analysis. Regression analysis results have been shown in Table 3 .

Table 3 -
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According to Table 3 , articulated dissent negatively affects job insecurity (β=-,370; p=<.05) and turnover intention (β=-.284; p= ,000) while latent dissent positively affects job insecurity (β=,175; p= ,003) and turnover intention (β=.249; p= ,000). On the other hand, job insecurity has a positive impact on the turnover intention (β=,496; p=,000). Therefore, H1, H2 and H3 are supported.

Conclusion and Discussions

This study conducted for shedding some light on the relationship between organizational dissent behavior, job insecurity and turnover intention of respondents from different sectors in Turkey. The results of present study inferred that articulated and latent dissent were effect turnover intention of respondents. In other words, articulated dissent is negatively related with turnover intention while latent dissent increases the tendency of employees’ turnover. These results of this study comport with research of Cenkci and Otken (2014) stating that constructive upward dissent behavior referring providing constructive feedback and suggestions to top managers about the contradictory situation in organization positively associate with remain intention of employees while latent dissent predicating the sharing dissatisfaction with other employees is a predictor of intention to leave. In a similar vein, Kassing et al. (2012) revealed that turnover intention of employees is a result of their latent dissent behavior. In addition, (Kassing, 1998) and (Kassing.2006) elicited that articulated dissent reduces the turnover intention of employees by virtue of democratic organizational climate providing the opportunity of expression freedom.

On the other hand, this is one of the first study demonstrating the effect of dissent behavior on job insecurity and results showed that articulated dissent mitigates the job insecurity feeling of employees while latent dissent stimulates this insecurity feeling. On the light of arguments of studies (Kassing, 2000; Kassing, 1997) indicating the factor determining dissent strategies’ selection in terms of employees proved that organizational environment encouraging freedom of speech, inholding strong supervisor-subordinate relationship, considering the opinion and concerns of employees have directed employees to use articulated dissent strategy relying on ground of sharing concerns with managers and organizational members having effect on organizational activities and decision making. Employees being a member of this organizational culture tend to feel lower job insecurity because of this encouragement and tolerance from organizations about their dissent behavior and awareness about that criticism made by them will be perceived as constructive feedback by the managers.

On the other hand, employees mostly choose latent dissent behavior due to lack of organizational culture perceiving expression of dissent as an opportunity for examining the problems that may arise within the organization and development of a democratic environment in the organization. As a result of this environment, employees tend to share their criticism about organizational policies, activities and inefficiency. However, latent dissent behavior has accompanied fear of retaliation because of perception of being adversarial by managers and supervisors. Once for all, it has been foreseen that these fears of employees bring together the job insecurity.

Another result of study centered that insecurity concern has an effect on respondents’ turnover intention in line with a vast number empirical findings of studies (Sverke, Hellgren, & Näswall, 2002; Ito & Brotheridge, 2007; Ashford et al., 1989; Probst, 2005). Contrary to Emberland, and Rundmo (2010) stating that job insecurity can be predicted turnover intention indirectly through a decrease in organizational commitment and psychological well-being, the result of the present study has exhibited a direct relationship between job insecurity and turnover intention.

On the basis of empirical findings, organizations should create working environment giving permission and confidence to employees in case of expressing their dissatisfaction and contradictory opinions about organizational operations, decisions and processes to reduce their insecurity feeling arising from the fear of retaliation and perceiving as an opponent. Because of knowing that organization pay attention to expressing not only positive thinking but also their negative criticism through articulated dissent, employees tend to feel less job insecurity. Similarly, organizations should generate working environment encouraging employees to share their contradictory opinion with managers rather than latent dissent behavior reduce the adverse impact of turnover intention in highly competitive labor market.

Besides contribution to literature focusing on dissent behavior, job insecurity and turnover intention, this study has some limitations. For further studies, using wider sampling area has contributed to the generalizability of results. Focusing on specific sector or comparison of different sectors for determining differences in terms of dissent strategy choice of organization’s members also would be beneficial. Additionally, examining the role of organizational culture in the relationship between dissent behavior and job insecurity can be examined to confirm the assumption of that organizational culture as an antecedent has provided basis for explaining the effect of dissent behavior on the insecurity feeling.


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