Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Deafening silence? Time to reconsider whether organisations are silent or deaf when things go wrong

Deafening silence? Time to reconsider whether organisations are silent or deaf when things go wrong Several public inquiries into healthcare failings in the UK have noted that employees of failing organizations attempt to raise concerns about shortcomings in care, often over a prolonged period of time, only for those concerns to be ignored. However, healthcare literature has largely focused on how organizations and their employees are silent in the face of such failings, positioning employees as daring not to speak in response to serious workplace problems or issues. We argue that only focussing on organizational silence is a critical mistake which misrepresents actual events and overly-simplifies the complexities of workplace culture. The disregard shown by academics, practitioners and policy makers to employee voice strategies, which do not amount to whistle-blowing, but equally cannot either be defined as “silence”, results in signals being ignored that can be effective in preventing and ending wrongdoing by others. In addition to understanding silence we suggest therefore that better understanding of why organizations are deaf to, or disregard, employee concerns are needed. We propose that a virtuous cycle is possible, whereby the introduction of systems that result in better listening and valuing of employee concerns reinforces a culture of speaking up and, in turn, organizational learning. Similarly, organizations that disregard employees concerns are destined not to learn, ultimately falling silent and failing. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png BMJ Quality & Safety British Medical Journal

Deafening silence? Time to reconsider whether organisations are silent or deaf when things go wrong

BMJ Quality & Safety , Volume 23 (9) – Sep 11, 2014

Deafening silence? Time to reconsider whether organisations are silent or deaf when things go wrong

BMJ Quality & Safety , Volume 23 (9) – Sep 11, 2014

Abstract


Several public inquiries into healthcare failings in the UK have noted that employees of failing organizations attempt to raise concerns about shortcomings in care, often over a prolonged period of time, only for those concerns to be ignored. However, healthcare literature has largely focused on how organizations and their employees are silent in the face of such failings, positioning employees as daring not to speak in response to serious workplace problems or issues. We argue that only focussing on organizational silence is a critical mistake which misrepresents actual events and overly-simplifies the complexities of workplace culture. The disregard shown by academics, practitioners and policy makers to employee voice strategies, which do not amount to whistle-blowing, but equally cannot either be defined as “silence”, results in signals being ignored that can be effective in preventing and ending wrongdoing by others. In addition to understanding silence we suggest therefore that better understanding of why organizations are deaf to, or disregard, employee concerns are needed. We propose that a virtuous cycle is possible, whereby the introduction of systems that result in better listening and valuing of employee concerns reinforces a culture of speaking up and, in turn, organizational learning. Similarly, organizations that disregard employees concerns are destined not to learn, ultimately falling silent and failing.

Loading next page...
 
/lp/british-medical-journal/deafening-silence-time-to-reconsider-whether-organisations-are-silent-X08wqR9CoY

References (24)

Publisher
British Medical Journal
Copyright
Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions
ISSN
2044-5415
eISSN
2044-5423
DOI
10.1136/bmjqs-2013-002718
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Several public inquiries into healthcare failings in the UK have noted that employees of failing organizations attempt to raise concerns about shortcomings in care, often over a prolonged period of time, only for those concerns to be ignored. However, healthcare literature has largely focused on how organizations and their employees are silent in the face of such failings, positioning employees as daring not to speak in response to serious workplace problems or issues. We argue that only focussing on organizational silence is a critical mistake which misrepresents actual events and overly-simplifies the complexities of workplace culture. The disregard shown by academics, practitioners and policy makers to employee voice strategies, which do not amount to whistle-blowing, but equally cannot either be defined as “silence”, results in signals being ignored that can be effective in preventing and ending wrongdoing by others. In addition to understanding silence we suggest therefore that better understanding of why organizations are deaf to, or disregard, employee concerns are needed. We propose that a virtuous cycle is possible, whereby the introduction of systems that result in better listening and valuing of employee concerns reinforces a culture of speaking up and, in turn, organizational learning. Similarly, organizations that disregard employees concerns are destined not to learn, ultimately falling silent and failing.

Journal

BMJ Quality & SafetyBritish Medical Journal

Published: Sep 11, 2014

Keywords: Patient safety Safety culture Communication Quality improvement

There are no references for this article.