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Antecedents and consequences of organisational silence: an empirical investigation

Maria Vakola (Department of Marketing and Management, Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)
Dimitris Bouradas (Department of Management Science and Technology, Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 1 October 2005

Abstract

Purpose

Although the phenomenon of organisational silence is widely seen in organisations, there is little empirical evidence regarding its nature and main components. This paper aims at investigating the dimensions of silence climate as they are perceived by individuals and exploring the effects of these dimensions on job attitudes.

Design/methodology/approach

In a sample of 677 employees, three dimensions of silence climate are constructed and measured in order to examine their effects on employee silence behaviour, organisational commitment and job satisfaction.

Findings

Results indicate that supervisors’ attitudes to silence, top management attitudes to silence and communication opportunities are associated and predict employees’ silence behaviour. These three dimensions are also associated with organisational commitment and job satisfaction.

Originality/value

Although the phenomenon of organisational silence is expected in organisations, there is little empirical evidence in the literature aimed at defining it, analysing it and coping with it. Silence climate has an impact on organizations’ ability to detect errors and learn and, therefore, organizational effectiveness is negatively affected. This exploratory study aims to measure organisational silence as a continuum between silence and voice explain silence behaviour through organisational climate dimensions. Based on the findings of this study, there are some important implications that are discussed.

Keywords

Citation

Vakola, M. and Bouradas, D. (2005), "Antecedents and consequences of organisational silence: an empirical investigation", Employee Relations, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 441-458. https://doi.org/10.1108/01425450510611997

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited