Voice is not enough: A multilevel model of how frontline voice can reach implementation

Patricia Satterstrom, Timothy J. Vogus, Olivia S. Jung, Michaela Kerrissey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Issue When frontline employees' voice is not heard and their ideas are not implemented, patient care is negatively impacted, and frontline employees are more likely to experience burnout and less likely to engage in subsequent change efforts. Critical Theoretical Analysis Theory about what happens to voiced ideas during the critical stage after employees voice and before performance outcomes are measured is nascent. We draw on research from organizational behavior, human resource management, and health care management to develop a multilevel model encompassing practices and processes at the individual, team, managerial, and organizational levels that, together, provide a nuanced picture of how voiced ideas reach implementation. Insight/Advance We offer a multilevel understanding of the practices and processes through which voice leads to implementation; illuminate the importance of thinking temporally about voice to better understand the complex dynamics required for voiced ideas to reach implementation; and highlight factors that help ideas reach implementation, including voicers' personal and interpersonal tactics with colleagues and managers, as well as senior leaders modeling and explaining norms and making voice-related processes and practices transparent. Practice Implications Our model provides evidence-based strategies for bolstering rejected or ignored ideas, including how voicers (re)articulate ideas, whom they enlist to advance ideas, how they engage peers and managers to improve conditions for intentional experimentation, and how they take advantage of listening structures and other formal mechanisms for voice. Our model also highlights how senior leaders can make change processes and priorities explicit and transparent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Care Management Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024


  • Coalitions
  • employee voice
  • implementation
  • listening
  • voice cultivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health Policy
  • Strategy and Management


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