Culture: Employees Afraid to Speak up?

Are your Employees Are Afraid to Speak-up?

Cultur is a pervasive and powerful influence in any organisation

What would you think if you overheard an employee confiding in another, “If I tell the director…what customers are saying, my career will be shot”?

We actually heard this, verbatim, in the course of our research on communication in a leading high-technology corporation. Our study suggests that this type of self-censorship is common, from the rank and file right up through senior management.

We set out to systematically identify the factors that cause employees to bring ideas to their bosses—or withhold them—by interviewing nearly 200 individuals from all levels and functions of the company.

The firm had many formal mechanisms, such as an ombudsperson and grievance procedures, for encouraging people to speak up about serious problems, yet half the employee respondents in a recent culture survey had revealed that they felt it was not “safe to speak up” or challenge traditional ways of doing things. What they were most reticent to talk about were not problems but rather creative ideas for improving products, processes, or performance. Why? …

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Source HBR: by James R. Detert and Amy C. Edmondson

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