Just keep silent…Defensive silence as a reaction to successive structural reforms

Jan Wynen, Bjorn Kleizen, Koen Verhoest, Per Laegreid, Vidar Rolland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Employees frequently have ideas and opinions on the execution of tasks or on the organization itself. Yet, sometimes employees remain silent and withhold this valuable input from their organizations because they fear experiencing conflict or controversy, causing both performance and employee morale to suffer. This article tests to what extent such fear of speaking up, referred to as ‘defensive silence,’ is affected by the extent of successive structural reforms an organization endures. Analyses of Norwegian Staff Surveys and of a structural reform database show that repetitive structural reforms affect employee engagement in defensive silence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-526
JournalPublic Management Review
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Keywords

  • BEHAVIOR
  • Defensive silence
  • EMPLOYEE SILENCE
  • INNOVATION
  • LEADERSHIP
  • ORGANIZATIONAL-CHANGE
  • PERCEPTIONS
  • RESPONSES
  • THREAT-RIGIDITY
  • VOICE
  • WORK
  • multi-level analysis
  • structural reform history

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