Doctoral Dissertation

1.6.2018 M.A. Cheng Zeng (Facul­ty of Hu­ma­ni­ties and Social Sciences, Intercultural Communication)


1.6.2018 12:00 — 15:00

Location: Muu , Ruusupuisto, Helena ( RUUD104)
Release: 1.6.2018: Exploring organizational dissent in a global setting (Cheng Zeng)
M.A. Cheng Zeng defends his doctoral dissertation in Intercultural Communication "Exploring organizational dissent in a global setting". Opponent Professor Emerita Caroline Hatcher (Queensland University of Technology) and Custos Professor Stephen Croucher (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in English.

Cheng Zeng - netti.jpgThe current research project focuses on an extinctive form of employee voice: organizational dissent. Dissent is the key to correct organizational misconducts, facilitate group innovation, and enhance employee satisfaction and organizational performance. Although organizational dissent has garnered substantial scholarly attention over the last two decades, most of these studies were developed in and for the domestic US environment while little is known about how dissent is conceptualized, expressed, and received in a different cultural setting.

To address this research void, this dissertation aims to complement previous research by investigating the relationship between organizational dissent and workplace freedom of speech in non-US settings: five European countries, Singapore, and China. This research project consists of one literature review and three empirical studies drawing on both qualitative and quantitative methods.

This study showed employees conceptualize dissent differently across cultures. Latent dissent, for example, is previously conceptualized as the product of the oppression of upward dissent. However, latent dissent in collectivistic cultures could be perceived as a crucial way to build and maintain coworker relationships. In addition, this project suggests that dissent strategy is shaped by economic factors such as stability of national economy, unemployment rate, perception of job security, and individual socioeconomic status.

Furthermore, this study proposes dissent is essentially linked with organizational power. Migrant groups in this project tend to express less dissent and perceive a more constrained workplace than the dominant group. Ultimately, this project asserts that generalizing results obtained from the US to other settings warrants caution. Developing cultural-specific theories and measurements is urgently needed in today’s globalized economy.

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Cheng Zeng