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Silence of the employees

When reviewing literature regarding employee involvement in the organization, the employee's "voice" is always treated as a possibility given or not given by the management. The question arises, will an employee want to make his voice heard? What importance does he attach to making his voice heard as a basis for teamwork?

Nowadays, most organizations establish mechanisms that integrate employees into the decision-making process. Employee participation in the organization's decisions is vital to the organization's success and prosperity. From the organization's side, the employee's accurate internal knowledge enables internal efficiency, and the employee, who feels that he is being heard, will feel more satisfied and motivated to continue working in the organization.  

Timming, A. R., & Johnstone, S. (2015)

While the management designs the mechanisms of the employee's voice, the employees have a choice of whether and how much to use these mechanisms. For example, the employee can choose not to share information in his possession - thus remaining silent. It is essential to explain that the concept of "silence" does not include a failure to convey information or a feeling that there is nothing to say but an active choice by the employee to withhold ideas, knowledge, and opinions relevant to work and organizational improvement.

Silence can result from an internal strategy of "avoiding risk", but there are a variety of explanations, such as workplace delinquency, fear of harming one's office status, and a lack of self-confidence. Also, employees can refrain from talking about specific topics and not others. Often the choice is based on the extent to which the voice supports or challenges the organizational status quo.

Moreover, there are personality types that can promote the voice or prevent it from coming out. Therefore, the decision to speak or remain silent is related to internal structures of personality, as well as the external environment of the organization.

The focus on the structure of the authoritarian personality began with a question that arose at the end of World War II - how can the mental endurance of the citizens under the rule of Hitler or Mussolini be explained? The researcher Adorno and his associates proposed that a personality structure or syndrome which expresses blind trust and a lack of resistance to authority can be triggered by living under an undemocratic regime.

Timming, A. R., & Johnstone, S. (2015)

They checked and found that the authoritarian personality structure consists of nine dimensions, among them rigid adherence to middle-class values, complete submission to authority and the state, as well as anger and lack of acceptance of any person who expresses a different opinion from the government.

These dimensions later formed the foundation stones from which the F (Fascism) scale was built, which examines anti-democratic tendencies at the personality level. It is estimated that subjects with high scores in each of the dimensions of the scale will have an anti-democratic personality structure. A low score in any category will weaken the personality structure and increase the value of subjective thinking.

The main question that arose with Adorno and his partners was - if the authoritarian personality theory is a political theory that deals with pure types, how would the person with such a personality structure manifests

in an organization?

Adorno answered and said that this person would be a "company man" who looks at the world through the glasses of the organization. His values are the organization's values, and every action he takes is for the organization's interests. Otherwise, he will not work for it.

In addition, due to his anti-democratic tendencies, the "organization man" will reject the idea of employee involvement in the decision-making process out of principle.

In summary, there are several types of personality structures. Our personality structure affects how we behave, and it turns out that even as to how much we say 😊

Want to understand more about what your structure symbolizes?

Now more straightforward than ever:

Timming, A. R., & Johnstone, S. (2015). Employee silence and the authoritarian personality: A political psychology of workplace democracy. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 23(1), 154-171.

We would be happy to hear your opinion!

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