Do I Hear the Whistle…? A First Attempt to Measure Four Forms of Employee Silence and Their Correlates

Journal of Business Ethics 113 (2):349-362 (2013)

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 (Acad Manag Rev 25:706–725, 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, Research in personnel and human resources management. JAI Press, Greenwich, 2001; van Dyne et al., J Manag Stud 40:1359–1392, 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
Keywords Employee silence  Organizational silence  Speaking up  Employee voice  Extra-role behavior  Scale development
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10551-012-1308-4
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 41,636
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Concept of Validity.Denny Borsboom, Gideon J. Mellenbergh & Jaap van Heerden - 2004 - Psychological Review 111 (4):1061-1071.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

God's Silence as an Epistemological Concern.Brooke Alan Trisel - 2012 - Philosophical Forum 43 (4):383-393.
Practising Silence in Teaching.Michelle Forrest - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 47 (4):605-622.
Logos, cri, silence.Guy Petitdemandge - 2009 - Archives de Philosophie 72 (4):645-659.
The Moral Significance of Employee Loyalty.Brian Schrag - 2001 - Business Ethics Quarterly 11 (1):41-66.


Added to PP index

Total views
52 ( #152,159 of 2,249,988 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #73,697 of 2,249,988 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature