Do I hear the whistle? A first attempt to measure four forms of employee silence and their correlates.
Silence in organizations refers to a state in which employees refrain from calling attention to issues at work such as illegal or immoral practices or developments that violate personal, moral or legal standards. While Morrison and Milliken (2000) discussed how organizational silence as a top-down organizational level phenomenon can cause employees to remain silent, a bottom-up perspective – that is, how employee motives contribute to the occurrence and maintenance of silence in organizations – has not yet been given much research attention. In this paper, we argue that this perspective is a meaningful complementation of the existing literature and that it is sensible to conceptualize distinct forms of employee silence (Pinder and Harlos 2001; van Dyne et al. 2003). Drawing on past research and theory we conceptualize four forms of employee silence, namely quiescent, acquiescent, prosocial, and opportunistic silence. We present scales to assess the four forms and provide empirical tests for their distinctiveness and patterns of relationships to various correlates and potential antecedents and consequences.
Knoll, M., & Van Dick, R. (2013). Do I hear the whistle? A first attempt to measure four forms of employee silence and their correlates. Journal of Business Ethics, 113, 349-362.