Many companies believe that privacy and secrecy lead to a competitive advantage. And in some instances they do, when directed outwardly. But they usually cause tension - and, ultimately, a dangerous silence - when directed towards others inside the company.
When this silence becomes systematic and powerful forces exist that consistently cause widespread withholding of information about company issues amongst employers and employees, then we can refer to it as 'organisational silence' (Morrison, 2000). Organisational silence has major negative consequences, especially for organizations' ability to change, something that has become a necessity for today's fragile business environment.
In this essay, three case studies from the Greek business environment are presented. We examine the process under which organisational silence occurs and the consequences it unfolds in a big publicly traded company, a banking organization and a family business. All three types of businesses are places where the members of the team have been or are currently employed.
The names of the companies have been modified for obvious reasons.
ORGANISATIONAL SILENCE: THREE CASE STUDIES
The financial group depicted in this case is one of the oldest and largest in Greece, while having a dynamic profile internationally. It provides financial products and services to corporate customers and private individuals alike, including retail and corporate lending, investment banking services, insurance, asset management, brokerage, leasing and factoring through a range of banking units covering the entire geographical area of Greece as well as alternative distribution channels, such as ATMs, Mobile and Internet banking.
The organization's longevity and success, especially in this era of acute competition and continuously increasing customer needs, is attached to its personnel advancement and amelioration. Therefore, the Bank has a very well organized Human Resources Department, which is involved with general issues such as culture and climate and...