The Content of the Message Matters: The Differential Effects of Promotive and Prohibitive Team Voice on Team Productivity and Safety Performance Gains

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We propose that it is important to take the content of team voice into account when examining its impact on team processes and outcomes. Drawing on regulatory focus theory (Higgins, 1997), we argue that promotive team voice and prohibitive team voice help teams achieve distinct collective outcomes—that is, team productivity performance gains and team safety performance gains, respectively. Further, we identify mechanisms through which promotive and prohibitive team voices uniquely influence team outcomes as well as boundary conditions for such influences. In data collected from 88 production teams, we found that promotive team voice had a positive association with team productivity performance gains. By contrast, prohibitive team voice had a positive association with team safety performance gains. The relationship between promotive team voice and team productivity performance gains was mediated by team innovation, and the relationship between prohibitive team voice and team safety performance gains was mediated by team monitoring. In addition, the indirect effect of prohibitive team voice on team safety performance gains via team monitoring was stronger when prior team safety performance was lower. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.

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