An Examination of the Effects of Storytelling in Meetings on Psychological Safety, Trust, and Employee Voice Behavior

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Organization Development & Change (D.O.D.C.)


Business Education

First Advisor

Michael Zickar (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Mihai Staic (Other)

Third Advisor

Margaret Brooks (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Jane Wheeler (Committee Member)


With more than 11 million meetings happening every day at an estimated cost of $399 billion annually, it is important to study conditions that promote or inhibit employee voice behavior within meetings. This research study takes a multidisciplinary approach incorporating research in the areas of meeting science, psychological safety, trust, trusting relationships, and storytelling to explore the effects of storytelling on employee voice behavior within the context of a meeting environment. The question guiding the research is, when elements of storytelling are present in a meeting, what impact is there on meeting participants’ inclination to speak up? Specifically, this study examined the effects on the perception of psychological safety, trust, and relationships among meeting participants and those constructs relationships with storytelling and their correlational relationship on employee voice behavior in meetings. The participants used in the project came from a variety of industries, including for-profit, non-profit, and academia. The findings of the study are encouraging around the relationship of storytelling with psychological safety, trust and employee voice behavior when you compare groups that indicated they experienced elements of storytelling in their focal meeting when compared to those who indicated they did not experience storytelling. The results of the study indicate a positive correlation when storytelling is incorporated in a meeting environment with the three dependent variables of psychological safety, trust, and employee voice behavior. This study also examined the extent of the singular impact on the three dependent variables with those participants who indicated they experienced elements of storytelling in their focal meeting. Within this context, the results indicate storytelling has a positive correlational effect on perceptions of trust and employee voice behavior at a significance level of < .05. While the results did not indicate a iii significant correlational relationship between storytelling and participant’s perceptions of psychological safety, there are findings that indicate future research is necessary to more deeply understand the effects. Finally, the development of a scale to measure storytelling emerged from this research. This is an exciting addition to the existing literature to help measure the impact storytelling has not only in meetings, but to build from in other situations too.