Tabling, discussing, and giving in: Dissent in workgroups.

Dissent is an integral part of decision making, and dissent processes may be particularly on display in workgroups in which group and organizational pressures intersect. The present study examined workgroup meetings in 3 organizations, focusing on how dissent influenced interactions that immediately followed the disagreement as well as how dissent shaped group meetings beyond those initial interactions. Immediately following dissent, groups typically tabled the dissenting member’s concerns, either because the group could not resolve the dissent or because the group leader chose not to discuss the dissent further. A longer view of these meetings revealed phases of dissent interspersed within periods of focused work. These findings make 2 contributions to scholarship. First, much of the literature on organizational and group dissent focuses on variables that affect dissent, but the present study examines how one dissent event influences future events. These data revealed groups’ keen awareness of past dissent as they expressed and responded to present dissent. Second, 2 breakpoints emerged as particularly important in the history of these groups, and those breakpoints revealed a dialectic mechanism that lay beneath dissent interactions. In one instance, managerialism seemed to subvert dissent, whereas in the other instance, a synthesis developed as the group developed new norms for interaction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)