Destructive Role of Employee Silence in Organizational Success

Beheshtifar, Malikeh; Borhani, Hossein; Moghadam, Mahmood Nekoie
November 2012
International Journal of Academic Research in Business & Social ;Nov2012, Vol. 2 Issue 11, p275
Academic Journal
Employees are regarded as major sources of change, creativity, learning, and innovation, which are critical factors to the success of organizations. However, many employees choose not to voice their opinions and concerns about matters in their organizations. Silence can convey approval and sharing or disfavor and opposition, thus becoming a pressure mechanism for both individuals and organizations. Through silence, organizational members suppress concerns about difficult or troubling personal as well as organizational issues. Moreover, there are three types of employee silence as Acquiescent Silence, Defensive Silence, and Pro-social Silence. Fear, embarrassment, narrow conceptions of ethical responsibility, implicated friends, lack of opportunity for voice, and lack of organizational political skills are factors to cause silence. Employee silence has many effects on the employees themselves. Indifferent employees, often products of ignored employee silence, tend to feel like cogs at machinery factories, developing the attitude "to get along, go along". Indifferent employees cause the organization to lose money and function poorly. If employee silence does occur, communication suffers and as a result harms the overall functioning of the organization. However, it is not easy to break silence climate of employees and their managers. Meanwhile, it is suggested to regulate some rules for supporting the employees' attitudes, to make decisions about the work groups of the organizations and to establish some programs in order to improve the human resource management for training skills of decision - making.


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