The Exit-Voice-Loyalty-Neglect ("EVLN") analyses the consequences of job dissatisfaction, and postulates that employees will respond to job dissatisfaction in one of four ways: by exiting, by speaking out about it, through loyalty, or through job neglect (Withey & Cooper 1989, 521). The model is premised upon the principle that job dissatisfaction affects individual behaviour, and has effects on the employee both intrinsically and extrinsically (Leck & Saunders 2005, 219). It suggests that the consequences of job dissatisfaction can be predicted, and can be harmful to both the individual and the organisation (Naus 2007, 684). This essay will analyse the EVLN model and will reflect on its application in light of a personal work experience. It will then provide practical recommendations as to how managers can avoid the negative consequences of job dissatisfaction and in particular, the negative behaviours contemplated by the EVLN model.
The EVLN model, first devised by Hirschman in 1970 and expanded upon by Rusbult, Zembrodt and Gunn in 1982 and Farrell in 1983, suggests that depending on the person and the situation, employees will respond to job dissatisfaction in any one (or a combination) of four ways, which as the name suggests, includes exit, voice, loyalty or neglect (Withey & Gellarly 1998, 111). In this model, exit refers to resigning from the organisation, transferring to another work unit or office, or at the very least, attempting to make the exit (McShane 2006, 117). Voice refers to an attempt to change, rather than escape from, the situation. Voice may be constructive, particularly where employees voice their dissatisfaction and recommend ways their satisfaction levels can be improved (Luchak 2003, 116). Conversely, it can be destructive where employees begin 'venting' to fellow employees, thereby spreading negative energy within the workplace (Turnley & Feldman 1999, 897). Loyalty refers to employees who respond to job dissatisfaction by complacency, most typically by patiently waiting for the problem to resolve itself. These types of employees tend to suffer silently in anticipation of their work situation improving (McShane 2006, 118). Neglect, which broadly refers to neglecting one's work responsibilities, is perhaps the most destructive of responses to job dissatisfaction, as it involves decreasing productivity, decreased attention to quality, and increasing absenteeism and lateness (Hagedoorn 1999, 310).
The responses can be independent or sequential, meaning that an employee may transition through a series of responses (Farrell & Rusbult 1992, 203). For example, a dissatisfied employee may go through a period of neglect, before deciding to quit their job (Humphrey 2000, 714). Once they announce their resignation, they may speak out to their fellow employees and leave with a 'noisy' exit (Withey & Cooper 1989, 522). Loyalty and voice can be constructive where they are used to try to maintain satisfactory relationships, though they can be destructive in certain circumstances (Si, Wei & Li 2008, 935). Neglect and exit are generally destructive as they occur once employees have decided that the relationship with the organisation is not worth maintaining (Si, Wei & Li 2008, 936).
Which response a given employee will take will generally depend upon the individual and their circumstances (McShane 2006, 117). A generally determinative factor is the availability of alternative employment. For example, where an employee has a great deal of financial freedom, they may choose to leave an aversive situation (Lee & Mitchell 1994, 62). This is far less likely when they are facing financial pressures and have low employment prospects (Hagedoorn 1999, 312). Instead, they may temporarily use the neglect option until a job opportunity comes by (McS