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Chapter 8 On not blowing the whistle: quiescent silence as an emotion episode

Emotions, Ethics and Decision-Making

ISBN: 978-1-84663-940-1, eISBN: 978-1-84663-941-8

ISSN: 1746-9791

Publication date: 25 July 2008

Abstract

The growth of research into whistle-blowing has produced some compelling insights into this important organizational phenomenon, but a number of areas remain under-explored, particularly the role of emotion and our understanding of the far more common response to wrongdoing, namely inaction. In this chapter we seek to problematize current conceptualizations of whistle-blowing and wrongdoing, as a basis for examining employee silence in the face of wrongdoing. We suggest that quiescent silence can be viewed as an emotion episode, and draw upon the feedback theory and the sensemaking paradigm to develop this proposition, illustrated through an analysis of accounts of quiescent silence in a clinical setting. We propose a new concept of “cues for inaction” which offers insights into the way quiescent silence arises and persists.

Citation

Blenkinsopp, J. and Edwards, M.S. (2008), "Chapter 8 On not blowing the whistle: quiescent silence as an emotion episode", Zerbe, W.J., Härtel, C.E.J. and Ashkanasy, N.M. (Ed.) Emotions, Ethics and Decision-Making (Research on Emotion in Organizations, Vol. 4), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 181-206. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1746-9791(08)04008-X

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited