Sounds of Silence: The Reflexivity, Self-decentralization, and Transformation Dimensions of Silence at Work

Mai Vu*, Ziyun Fan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article explores silence as a phenomenon and practice in the workplace through a Buddhist-enacted lens where silence is intentionally encouraged. It brings forward a reconsideration of the roles of silence in organizations by proposing emancipatory dimensions of silence—reflexivity, self-decentralization, and transformation. Based on 54 interviews with employees and managers in a Vietnamese telecommunications organization, we discuss the dynamic nature of silence, and the possible coexistence of the constructive and the oppressive aspects of silence in a workplace spirituality context. Instead of studying silence as one-dimensional, we call for an integrated view and argue that studying silence requires consideration of the multiplicity of its interconnected dimensions. By considering silence as a relational and emerging processes constructed around its vagueness and uncertainties, our study reveals the many possible ways silence is organized and organizes and sheds light on silence as a marker of the complexities and paradoxes of organizational life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105649262110079
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
Early online date22 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Apr 2021

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