Consent is an organizational behavior issue

Consent is an organizational behavior issue
Vanessa K.Bohns, RachelSchlund
Research in Organizational Behavior, 18 August 2021
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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