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Consent is an Organizational Behavior Issue

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Abstract

Consent is central to many organizational interactions and obligations. Employees consent to various terms of employment, both formal (contractual obligations) and informal (extra-role responsibilities, interpersonal requests). Yet consent has traditionally been considered a legal matter, unrelated to organizational behavior. In this article, we make a case for why, and how, organizational behavior scholars should undertake the study of consent. We first review scholarship on the legal understanding of consent. We argue that the traditional legal understanding is an incomplete way to think about consent in organizations, and we call for a more nuanced understanding that incorporates psychological and philosophical insights about consent—particularly consent in employer-employee relationships. We then connect this understanding of consent to traditional organizational behavior topics (autonomy, fairness, and trust) and examine these connections within three organizational domains (employee surveillance, excessive work demands, and sexual harassment). We conclude with future directions for research on consent in organizations.

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Date Issued

2021

Publisher

Elsevier

Keywords

consent; social influence; autonomy; surveillance; sexual harassment

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Employer

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Union Local

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Previously Published As

Bohns, V. K., & Schlund, R. (2021). Consent is an organizational behavior issue. Research in Organizational Behavior, 40.

Government Document

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

Types

article

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alternative text; bookmarks; high contract display; reading order; structural navigation

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none

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Accessible pdf

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