Sounds of Silence

“Oorganizational silence” is a potentially dangerous impediment to organizational learning and change. It can hamper the development of truly pluralistic organizations – ones that value and allow for the expression of multiple perspectives and opinions. But to date, there has been little systematic academic exploration of why “organizational silence” is pervasive, or of the consequences of widespread silence – even in an era in which management universally extols the virtues of greater communication. In our recent work, we have sought to understand both the consequences and the causes of silence in organizations, especially when that silence is widespread.

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