Sounds of Silence

This article by Morrison and Milliken is an interesting article amount something that i think is the most difficult office relationship to overcome.  That is silence among the employees when dealing with the manager.  “Organizational Silence” can be extremely detrimental to the success of the team and the company that it operating with it.  Organizational silence can lead to serious problems with the workplace, such as: reduced employee motivation, withdrawal, high turnover, and cognitive dissonance. 

These actions and results all stem from a few major organization theories.  The first is that top manager fear hearing negative feedback from subordinates.  obviously if they were a good manager they would be encouraging their subordinates to give them feedback so that improvements can be made.  Also, be encouraging feedback they are building a trusting relationship between the manager and the employee.  Next is that managers believe that most employees are self-interested and untrustworthy.  This again goes with the idea that managers want to build a trusting relationship with the employee so that they feel that they have some ownership or stake in the company.  Also, this creates a tension between the employee because they feel put down and undervalued. 

In general, there is never a good silence in the workplace.  However, there are ways in which managers can begin to counteract and eliminate “organizational science”.  They can begin by continuously encouraging employees to give feedback.  They also need to positively reinforce people giving feedback so that is no longer has a negative connotation around it.  This is not an easy process or one that can be fixed quickly.  This takes time and a lot of effort to regain and that trust.


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