Sounds of Silence

The article starts out with a great story about a naked CEO and no one has the guts to ask him why he is naked.  Instead some of them compliment him and others talk about him behind his back.  This is a great story to blatantly show us how companies turn out.  Everyone is turned off by their superiors and no one dares to speak up about it.  It shows us that even with something as ridiculous as the CEO being naked the problem at the workforce is that no one is willing to speak up about their superiors.  The question is, Why is this?

When people where interviewed they said that if they spoke up they would be faced with negative ramification.  The article calls this “organizational silence.”  This is not a good thing for any company.  This will put a huge obstruction on growth and could, and eventually will hurt the company.  This doesn’t allow for problems to be fixed or addressed properly and eventually they can cascade into larger ones.  The article has a very interesting illustration of the effects of this on companies.

This is very much like the “deans disease” where organizations get filled with people that will never go against the upper management.  Companies need people to challenge the things going on around them and need people that will disagree.  This silences, caused by who knows what, is what causes this kind of behavior.

The article talks about many reasons that can cause this “silence” in organizations.  There are ideas that it is because of the difference in management and the lower level employees.  There is also ideas that it is caused by the culture of the company and that they get the idea that the best thing for a company is unity in the company, no matter what the costs.  There is talk in the article about managers instill this feeling that they cannot trust lower-level employees.

The idea is to break free from this silence.  However, it is just as much the manager’s job as it is the employee’s job in order to do this.  They must work hard together to put a stop to this silence and encourage talk, both negative and positive.  The hardest part is being able to constructively give negative feedback but as long as both parties are looking in the best interest of the company in the end it will put a stop to the “organizational silence.”

To view article visit:

http://www.business.unr.edu/faculty/simmonsb/badm720/notes720.html and click on Organizational Silence

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