Recreation of Antecedents and Consequences of Employees' Organizational Silence Case Study: Isfahan Municipality
Human resources in firms are one of the factors to gain competitive advantage. Hence, successful firms use these advantages effectively which are the valuable capital of firm and elevate their firm through enhancement of their capability and motivation. Although employees are expected to participate in development of the firm via their knowledge, ideas, opinions and suggestions, they sometimes prefer to become silent. Therefore, firms have to provide conditions for their employees to move towards the purposes and plans of the firm with peace of mind and safety. Today, firms need employees who break organizational silence and propose their opinions about the problems. In firms where there is no silence, employees and managers have high motivation, performance and efficiency. Similarly, simultaneous with more diversification of organizational environments, the environment and communicative processes will become more complex and interactive. So, employees are a valuable source of feedback for identification of the problems at the work environment and solving them. The research show that when managers ask the employees to express their opinions, if employees believe that their opinions and suggestions for change may disturb the current balance in the firm or worries the managers, they often feel unsafety in expressing their ideas and opinions. This sense of unsafety is led to unconscious or conscious decision of an employee to become silent (Deniz et al., 2013). Employees' silence is highly harmful for firms and it often increases dissatisfaction levels among the employees. This is shown in the form of absenteeism and turnover and perhaps other undesirable behaviors. In addition, if employees are silent, relations will be damaged; thus, total performance of the firm will be damaged. Other consequences may be lack of innovation, low spirit, defective services, etc. (Cinar et al., 2013). How to break silence and create a free space which encourages the employees to speak are major challenges for managers (Beheshtifar et al., 2012). Isfahan Municipality is one of the most important service firms that requires employees who can express their opinions simply. On the other hand, employees' silence has been one of the main concerns of managers at Isfahan Municipality in recent years. It is essential for this organization to propose explanatory factors of silence and its consequences in the framework of a model through a deep study and considers it as the management basis of this phenomenon. Despite the fact that employees' silence has become common in firms but it is a concept that has not been recognized well and a few scientific studies has been carried about it. Besides, its nonobvious presence, meaning and effect on performance of groups and firms have not been recognized completely. Likely, Morrison and Milliken (2000) indicate given that silence has become a powerful force in firms but it has not been explored seriously (Zarei Matin et al., 2011). Therefore, familiarity with this phenomenon and identifying the grounds and reasons of its occurrence as well as the resulting consequences is necessary in order to prevent or confront it. Considering the importance of this issue, the main problem in this study is to design a model for antecedents and consequences of organizational silence at Isfahan Municipality.

This study is applicable-developmental from objective aspect, descriptive-correlational from methodological aspect and uses an admixture of qualitative and quantitative methods. The statistical population in the qualitative study included 2013 employees of Isfahan Municipality. The statistical population in the quantitative study (fuzzy Delphi) was consisted of 138 organizational experts including the selected managers at Isfahan Municipality and academic experts in the field of organizational behavior and human resources. Sixteen employees were being interviewed in the qualitative section by means of purposive sampling. The quantitative study was implemented through judgmental sampling and eighteen organizational and academic experts participated in this section. Qualitative data was collected via semi-structured interview and it was continued until theoretical saturation was achieved. Tool of data collection in Delphi stage is questionnaire. Maxwell's theoretical and descriptive valuation as well as Newman's valuation method were employed to confirm reliability and validity of the questionnaire. Reliability of qualitative data is equal to 84.37 for antecedents of organizational silence and 76.19 for consequences of organizational silence. Given that the values are greater than 60 percent, reliability of codings is confirmed.

Discussion, conclusion and suggestions In this study, antecedents and consequences of organizational silence were identified and a model was designed based on the identified factors. The primary proposed model was on the basis of Morrison and Milliken's organizational silence theory (2000) and employee silence by Pinder and Harlos (2001). The results revealed that individual, managerial, organizational and group factors are effective on organizational silence or antecedents of organizational silence. It is noteworthy that a lot of variables in the framework of individual and organizational consequences of organizational silence were identified and explored in this study. The obtained results show that managers have to enhance their understanding of organizational silence and identify and decrease silence in firms to increase organizational efficiency. To this end, some suggestions are presented below.
It is suggested to the firms to value constructive opinions of employees and propose the required policies to encourage and support their views. For this purpose, it is suggested to reward innovative opinions of employees and create a suggestions system in order to destroy silence. In the same vein, a positive and negative feedback system shall be established which will decrease fear and horror of criticism via providing job security for employees. Also, managers should provide circumstances under which employees can challenge their decisions.
It is suggested to firms to create a safe environment for employees. The possibility to receive negative feedback and suggestions for change by employees should also be provided. In this way, they can deal with the problems and mistakes timely
Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Journal of Applied Sociology the University of Isfahan, Volume:29 Issue: 4, 2018
147 - 166  
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