Voice and Silence in Orgs LO27443

From: Emery Brant (bemery@blackwellpublishers.co.uk)
Date: 10/22/01



Special Issue:
Speaking Up, Remaining Silent: The Dynamics of Voice and Silence in

Due Date: April 15, 2002

Special Issue Editors: Frances Milliken and Elizabeth Morrison

Within organizations, people often make choices about whether or not to
speak up about potentially important issues and problems. In many cases,
they choose the safe response of silence. Alternatively, they may express
a dishonest point of view because they feel that speaking honestly is too
risky. Such choices, particularly when made by a large number of
organizational participants, can have serious organizational and
individual consequences.

Silence exhibits itself in many ways in organizations. An employee may
keep quiet about unethical practices for fear of being punished. Members
of a group may choose to not express dissenting opinions in the interest
of maintaining consensus and cohesion. A manager may avoid giving honest
feedback to a subordinate or may withhold information about an impending
layoff. Such dynamics are driven not only by fear and the discomfort of
conveying bad news or unwelcome ideas, but also by normative pressures.
Within organizations, there are often taboo subjects that most employees
know to be off-limits for open discussion.

This special issue will focus on the choices that organizational members
make about speaking up. We encourage not just papers that focus on
silence and self-censorship, but also papers that focus on the choice to
voice concerns, particularly when one is faced with pressure to do

We encourage a broad range of papers related to silence and voice in
organizations. We especially encourage papers that focus on silence
within particular industries or silence around particular issues.
Although not inclusive, the following questions typify issues that would
be appropriate for the special issue:

What roles do fear and courage play in decisions to speak up or remain
What roles do norms and taboos play in decisions to voice concerns?
What do organizations need to do to create environments where people feel
that they can safely speak up?
What kinds of information are most likely to be lost to organizations
because of silence?
In what ways might silence and the withholding of information be
organizationally functional? How can organizations strike a balance between
too much and too little discussion of potential or real problems?
What are the long-term consequences of silence for both individuals and
How does the propensity to speak openly and honestly about organizational
issues vary across cultures?

Submissions must be received by April 15th to be considered for the
special issue. They should be sent to: Elizabeth Morrison, Stern School
of Business, New York University, 44 West Fourth Street, New York, New
York 10012, USA. For further information, please contact the special
issue editors, Frances Milliken (fmillike@stern.nyu.edu
<mailto:fmillike@stern.nyu.edu>) or Elizabeth Morrison


"Emery Brant" <bemery@blackwellpublishers.co.uk>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <Richard@Karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.