An Exploratory Study of Employee Silence: Issues that Employees Don't Communicate Upward and Why
AbstractThere is evidence from a variety of sources that employees often do not feel comfortable speaking to their bosses about organizational problems or issues that concern them. The purpose of this study was to shed light on the types of issues that employees are reluctant to raise, and identify why employees sometimes decide to remain silent rather than voice their concerns. We interviewed 40 employees and found that most had been in situations where they were concerned about an issue but did not raise it to a supervisor. Silence spanned a range of organizational issues, with several of our respondents indicating that they did not feel comfortable speaking to those above them about "any" issues or concerns. The most frequently mentioned reason for remaining silent was the fear of being viewed or labeled negatively, and as a consequence, damaging valued relationships. From our data, we develop a model of how the perceived consequences of voice contribute to silence, and a model of how the social and relational implications of speaking up can take away employees' ability to have influence within an organizational setting. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2003.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Management Studies.
Volume (Year): 40 (2003)
Issue (Month): 6 (09)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0022-2380
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Travis, Dnika J. & Gomez, Rebecca J. & Mor Barak, Michàlle E., 2011. "Speaking up and stepping back: Examining the link between employee voice and job neglect," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1831-1841, October.
- David Whiteside & Laurie Barclay, 2013. "Echoes of Silence: Employee Silence as a Mediator Between Overall Justice and Employee Outcomes," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 116(2), pages 251-266, August.
- Vallaster, Christine & Lindgreen, Adam, 2013. "The role of social interactions in building internal corporate brands: Implications for sustainability," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 297-310.
- James Avey & Tara Wernsing & Michael Palanski, 2012. "Exploring the Process of Ethical Leadership: The Mediating Role of Employee Voice and Psychological Ownership," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 107(1), pages 21-34, April.
- Kato, Toshihiko & Numagami, Tsuyoshi & Karube, Masaru & Sasaki, Masato, 2013. "Types Of Upward Communication And Organizational Characteristics In Japanese Firms," Hitotsubashi Journal of commerce and management, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 47(1), pages 1-16, January.
- Li-Yueh Lee & Veasna Sou, 2013. "The Antecedents of Innovation Climate: Cross-Level Mediation Perspectives," Diversity, Technology, and Innovation for Operational Competitiveness: Proceedings of the 2013 International Conference on Technology Innovation and Industrial Management, ToKnowPress.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.