top of page
Asian Institute of Research, Journal Publication, Journal Academics, Education Journal, Asian Institute
Asian Institute of Research, Journal Publication, Journal Academics, Education Journal, Asian Institute

Journal of Social and Political


ISSN 2615-3718 (Online)

ISSN 2621-5675 (Print)

asia insitute of research, journal of social and political sciences, jsp, aior, journal publication, humanities journal, social journa
asia insitute of research, journal of social and political sciences, jsp, aior, journal publication, humanities journal, social journa
asia insitute of research, journal of social and political sciences, jsp, aior, journal publication, humanities journal, social journa
asia insitute of research, journal of social and political sciences, jsp, aior, journal publication, humanities journal, social journa
open access

Published: 16 September 2019

Silence in the Islands; An Exploratory Study of Employee Silence in the Maldives

Fathmath Najadha Abdulla

Marmara University, Turkey

journal of social and political sciences
pdf download

Download Full-Text Pdf



Pages: 777-789

Keywords: Employee Silence, Employee Voice, Organizational Silence


Organizational silence is interpreted as a collective phenomenon that acts as a barrier to the development of the pluralistic organization. Communication and the flow of information between employees and different departments are strategic factors to achieve organizational goals. Free flow of communication without any obstruction between managers and employees contribute to a more open and vibrant workplace. However, many employees often decide to remain silent rather than expressing their opinions and concerns. Employee silence results in negative impacts for both the employees and the organization. As employee silence hinder organizational progress, proper mechanisms have to be implemented to ensure that employees can voice out and be open about their concerns, without fear of penalization. In line with this view, the starting point for this would be to find out the reasons for silent behavior. The Maldives being among the developing countries, it is important to identify the factors which may hinder organizational development. Hence the main aim of this study is to identify whether employee silence exists among the group of employees in the Maldives and identify the reasons why employees remain silent. This study is a qualitative study where data was collected by conducting face to face interviews with 10 employees who work in various public organizations in the Maldives. The results of this study point to the existence of employee silence among the sample group in the Maldives.


  1. Argyris, C. and D. Schon. (1978). Organizational Learning. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

  2. Aryee, S., Chen, Z. X., Sun, L. Y., & Debrah, Y. A. (2007). Antecedents and outcomes of abusive supervision: Test of a trickle-down model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 191–201.

  3. Baumeister, R., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation.Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497–529.

  4. Bayın G, Yeşilaydın G & Esatoğlu AE (2015) Determination of reasons for organizational silence of nurses. Journal of Business Research Turk 7, 248 -266

  5. Benedict, M. E., & Levine, E. L. (1988). Delay and distortion: Tacit influences on performance appraisal effectiveness. Journal of Applied Psychology, 73(3), 507-514.

  6. Bowen, F. and K. Blackmon. (2003). Spirals of Silence: The Dynamic Effects of Diversity on Organizational Voice. Journal of Management Studies, 40.6, 1393- 1417.

  7. Breshan, M. J., Chiu, H. C. ve Levine, T. R. (2004). Self-construal as a predictor of communal and exchange orientation in Taiwan and the USA. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 7 (2), 187- 203

  8. Brinsfield, C. T. (2009). Employee Silence: Investigation of Dimensionality, Development of Measures, and Examination of Related Factors. Doctoral dissertation, The Ohio State University.

  9. Brinsfield, C. T. (2013). Employee Silence Motives: Investigation of Dimensionality and Development of Measures. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34.5, 671-697

  10. Cavanagh, S. (1997). Content analysis: concepts, methods, and applications.Nurse Researcher, 4(3), 5-16.

  11. Clapham, S.E. & Cooper, R.W. J Manage Governance (2005) 9: 287.

  12. Cole FL. Content analysis: process and application. Clinical Nurse Specialist. 1988. 2, 1, 53-57

  13. Conlee, M. C. and A. Tesser. (1973). The Effects of Recipient Desire to Hear on News Transmission. Sociometry, 4, 588-599.

  14. Crocker J., Canevello A. 2012. Egosystem and ecosystem motivational perspectives on caregiving. In Brown S. R.Brown M.Penner L. A. (Eds.), Moving beyond self-interest: 211–223. New York: Oxford University Press.

  15. Detert, J. R., & Edmondson, A. C. (2006). Everyday failures in organizational learning: Explaining the high threshold for speaking up at work. Working Paper No. 06-024. Harvard Business School, Cambridge, MA, USA.

  16. Donsbach, Wolfgang, and Robert L. Stevenson. 1984. ‘‘Challenges, Problems, and Empirical Evidence of the Theory of the Spiral of Silence.’’ Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, San Francisco.

  17. Dutton, J. E., S. J. Ashford, R. M. O’Neill, E. Hayes and E. E. Wierba (1997). Reading the wind: How middle managers assess the context for selling issues to top managers. Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 18: 5, 407-425.

  18. Harlos, K. (2001). When Organizational Voice Systems Fail. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 37.3, 324-342.

  19. Glynn, C., Hayes, A., & Shanahan, J. (1997). Perceived Support for One's Opinions and Willingness to Speak Out: A Meta-Analysis of Survey Studies on the "Spiral of Silence". The Public Opinion Quarterly, 61(3), 452-463.

  20. Glynn, Carroll J., and Jack M. McLeod. 1984. ‘‘Public Opinion du Jour: An Examination of the Spiral of Silence.’’ Public Opinion Quarterly 48:731–40. 1985. ‘‘Implications of the Spiral of Silence Theory for Communication and Public Opinion Research.’’ In Political Communication Yearbook, vol. 14, ed. Keith Sanders, Linda Kaid, and Dan Nimmo. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press

  21. Hofstede, G. H. (1991). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. London: New York, McGraw-Hill.

  22. Hirschman, A. O. (1970). Exit, Voice, and Loyalty. Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States. Cambridge/Mass: Harvard University Press.

  23. Huang, X., E. Vliert, and G. Vegt. (2005). Breaking the Silence Culture: Stimulation of Participation and Employee Opinion Withholding Cross-nationally. Management and Organization Review, 1.3, 459-482.

  24. Karacaoglu, K. and A. Cingoz (2008). Örgütsel Sessizlik. Ozdevecioglu, M. and H. Karadal (Ed.), Örgütsel Davranışta Seçme Konular, Ankara, 155-167.

  25. Kish-Gephart, J. J., Detert, J. R., Trevino, L. K., & Edmondson, A. C. (2009). Silenced by fear:. The nature, sources, and consequences of fear at work. Research in Organizational Behavior, 29, 163-193.

  26. Leary, MR (Ed.). (2001). Interpersonal rejection. New York, NY,

  27. US: Oxford University Press. 

  28. LePine, J. A. and L. Van Dyne. (1998). Predicting Voice Behavior in Work Groups. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83.6, 853-868.

  29. Mari SvendsenThomas S. Joensson, (2016) "Transformational leadership and change related voice behavior", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 37 Issue: 3, pp.357-368, 

  30. Milliken, F. J., E. W. Morrison and P. F. Hewlin (2003). An Exploratory Study of Employee Silence: Issues that Employees Don’t Communicate Upward and Why. pp. 1-35,, 15.10.2011

  31. Morran, D. K., Stockton, R., & Bond, L. (1991). Delivery of positive and corrective feedback in counseling groups. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38(4), 410-414.

  32. Morrison, E. W. and F. J. Milliken (2000). Organizational silence: A barrier to change and development in a pluralistic world. Academy of Management Review, 25, 706-725.

  33. Noelle-Neumann, E. (1974). The Spiral of Silence: A Theory Of Public Opinion. Journal of Communication, 24.2, 43-51.

  34. Park C and Keil M (2009) Organizational silence and whistle-blowing on IT projects: An integrated model. Decision Sciences 40(4): 901−918.

  35. Panahi, P., Veisehb, S., Divkharc, S. and Kamarid, F. (2012), An empirical analysis on influencing factors on organizational silence and its relationship with employee’s organizational commitment, Management Science Letters, Vol. 2, P. 735.

  36. Peirce, E., C. A. Smolinski, and B. Rosen. (1998). Why Sexual Harassment Complaints Fall on Deaf Ears. Academy of Management Executive, 12.3, 41-54.

  37. Perlow L., Williams S. 2003. Is silence killing your company?. Harvard Business Review, 81(5): 52–58.

  38. Pinder, C. C. and H. P. Harlos (2001). Employee silence: Quiescence and acquiescence as responses to perceived in justice. Research in Personnel and Human Resource Management, 20, 331-369.

  39. Premeaux, S. F. and A. G. Bedeian. (2003). Breaking The Silence: The Moderating Effects of Self-Monitoring in Predicting Speaking up in the Workplace. Journal of Management Studies, 40.6, 1539-1562.

  40. Rosen, S. and A. Tesser. (1970). On Reluctance to Communicate Undesirable Information: The MUM Effect. Sociometry, 33, 253-263

  41. Sagie, A., & Koslowsky, M. (2000). Participation and empowerment in organizations: Modeling, effectiveness, and applications. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  42. Salmon, Charles T., and Hayg Oshagan. 1990. ‘‘Community Size, Perceptions of Majority Opinion, and Opinion Expression.’’ In Public Relations Research Annual, vol. 2, ed. Larissa A. Grunig and James E. Grunig. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

  43. Salmon, C. T., & Neuwirth, K. (1990). Perceptions of Opinion “Climates” and Willingness to Discuss the Issue of Abortion. Journalism Quarterly, 67(3), 567–577.

  44. Slade, M. R. (2008). The adaptive nature of organizational silence: A cybernetic exploration of the hidden factory. The Graduate School of Education and Human Development. George Washington University (pp. 64-78).

  45. Tesser, A. and S. Rosen. (1972). Similarity of Objective Fate as a Determinant of the Reluctance to Transmit Unpleasant Information: The MUM Effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 23, 46-53.

  46. Van Dyne, L., S. Ang, and I. C. Botero. (2003). Conceptualizing Employee Silence and Employee Voice as Multidimensional Constructs. Journal of Management Studies, 40.6, 1359-1392.

  47. Whiteside, D.B. & Barclay, L.J. J Bus Ethics (2013) 116: 251.

  48. Williams, K. D. (2001). Ostracism: The power of silence. NY: Guilford Press.

  49. Williams, K. D. (2007). Ostracism. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 425– 445

  50. Wu, J. B., Tsui, A. S., & Kinicki, A. J. (2010). Consequences of differentiated leadership in groups. Academy of Management Journal, 53, 90 –106.

  51. Yalçın, B. and Baykal, Ü. (2012) “The Subjects of and Reasons for Nurses’ Remaining Silent in Private Hospitals and Relative Factors”, Journal of Education and Research in Nursing, 9(2):42-50.

  52. Yamaguchi, S. (1994). Collectivism among the Japanese: A perspective from the self. In U. Kim, H. Triandis, C. Kagitabasi, S. Choi, & G. Yoon (Eds.), Individualism and collectivism: Theory, method, and application (pp. 175-188).

bottom of page