Reconciling Competing Perspectives About How Undermining at Home Influences Speaking Up at Work

Document Type



employee voice; spousal undermining; anxiety; compensation

Identifier Data


Springer Nature

Publication Source

Journal of Business and Psychology

Rights Management

All rights retained by Springer Nature


Does spousal undermining encourage or discourage voice behavior at work? Existing research offers competing perspectives as potential answers to this question. On the one hand, a Conservation of Resources Theory perspective suggests that spousal undermining should contribute to low levels of voice behavior because it consumes attentional and emotional resources. On the other hand, a Compensation Theory perspective argues that spousal undermining should trigger a compensation response and contribute to more voice behavior at work. Utilizing an experience sampling study by surveying full-time employees over two weeks, we examined these competing perspectives and found that employees responded to spousal undermining by contributing more at work through higher levels of voice. Additionally, we found that highly conscientious employees are especially motivated to engage in voice behavior to reduce the anxiety triggered by experiencing spousal undermining. The results of a multilevel path analysis confirmed our model, which offers a novel explanation for what motivates employees to speak up at work on a daily basis. Our research also sheds light on the beneficial outcomes that can emanate from negatively valenced emotions like anxiety.