Organizational Silence

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MM2021 Management & Organization
Individual Assignment

In the past decade, many scholars have done a lot of research concerning organizational silence. Their main foci are on the kinds of issues that employees felt unable to talk to people above them and the reasons behind why they think that they should not speak up about concerns or problem (e.g. Milliken, Morrison & Hewlin, 2003). It is, however, not much research has been done to further analyse the underlying cause of organization silence. Therefore, in this paper, I will try to use the nature of human being, selfness, to further analyse and explain the research results done by previous scholars in respect of organization silence.

The main objective of this paper is not to disapprove any existing research results concerning organization silence. On the contrary, the purpose of this paper is trying to provide a deeper explanation of why employees tend to keep quiet when they have problem or issues that concern them at work. Therefore, this paper is a supplementary of those existing research regarding organization silence.

The method I am going to use to support my research consists of two parts. The first part is that based on existing research results concerning organization silence. And the second part is that based on my own interview results of which the interview was specially designed to provide information for this paper. Using the above two components, the underlying cause of organizational silence is going to be further analysed and explained. In additional, other models which are related to organizational silence will be used to justify my findings. At the end of this paper, several suggestions will be provided as my advice for managers to improve the organizational silence.

Review of existing research results
Since this paper is a supplementary of those existing research results regarding organizational silence, so I am going to provide a review of those existing research results first.

Issues that employees said they felt incapable to rise to those above them are summarized as following: worries about a colleague’s or manager’s competence or performance, trouble with organizational processes or performance and/or suggestions for enhancement, anxiety about pay or pay equity, disagreement with company policies or decisions, personal career issues or distress, ethical or fairness issues, harassment or abuse and conflict with a colleague (Milliken, Morrison & Hewlin, 2003).

In addition, the reasons that employees gave for not speaking up about concerns or problems are summarized as following: fear of being labeled or viewed negatively, fear of destroying a relationship, feelings of futility, fear of revenge or punishment and worries about negative impact on others (including colleagues and supervisors) (Milliken, Morrison & Hewlin, 2003).

From the above research results, I discover that many scholars classified the reasons why employees remain silent when they encounter the above issues that they felt incapable to rise to those above them into following categories: individual characteristics, fear, organization structure and/or culture and managers’ characteristics. At the time I am writing this paper, still not much attention is paid to the underlying cause of the organizational silence. A lot of scholars have just focused on the apparent facts only, but do not have a further analysis concerning the underlying implication of those reasons. Therefore, in the following part of this paper, I am going to develop a model to further analyze the underlying cause.

To have a deeper understanding of human behavior, I think using the perspective of human nature is a suitable and appropriate analyze tool. Regarding organizational silence, I think selfness, which is a very basic nature of human being, can be used as a tool to further analyze the underlying implication.

Selfish is defined as “concerned chiefly or only with yourself...
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