Just keep silent… Defensive silence as a reaction to successive structural reforms
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionWynen J, Kleizen B, Verhoest K, Lægreid P, Rolland V. Just keep silent… Defensive silence as a reaction to successive structural reforms. Public Management Review. 2020;22(4):498-526 https://doi.org/10.1080/14719037.2019.1588358
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.