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What is Organisational silence?

In every organisation, there are times when employees refrain from speaking up, sharing their ideas or

concerns, or expressing their opinions. This phenomenon is known as "organisational silence" and can have detrimental effects on the well-being and success of a company.


Organisational silence can occur for various reasons, including fear of retaliation or retribution, a lack of trust in leadership perceived futility of speaking up, and a belief that voicing concerns will not lead to any change. Employees may also be hesitant to speak up if they perceive the organisational culture as hostile or unsupportive of open communication.

The consequences of organisational silence can be severe. It can lead to a lack of innovation and problem-solving, missed opportunities, and decreased employee engagement and morale. It can also lead to unethical behavior going unreported, and a failure to identify and address issues before they become larger problems.

To address this issue, organisations need to create a culture of psychological safety, where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas, opinions, and concerns. This involves establishing clear communication channels and expectations, encouraging open dialogue, and valuing diverse perspectives.

Leadership plays a critical role in creating a psychologically safe culture. They need to model the desired behaviour by actively seeking out feedback, acknowledging the input of all team members, and responding positively to constructive criticism. They also need to create opportunities for team building and

professional development to build trust and establish positive relationships.


Organisational silence is a significant challenge that organisations must address to foster a healthy and productive work environment. By creating a culture of psychological safety and empowering employees to speak up, organisations can harness the power of diverse perspectives and ensure the well-being and success of all team members.

If you want support overcoming organisational silence in your business get in touch with us at Kōwhai Corporate and we can start the kōrero today!


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