When it seems like it’s time to blow the whistle on a malfeasance or misbehavior, it’s more likely that it’s time to keep quiet a little longer, according to an Academy of Management Perspectives article, “When Something Is Not Right: The Value of Silence.”
“People are often too quick on the trigger. Unless your office is literally on fire, I think it makes sense to slow down a little bit and start gathering the facts,” said Thomas M. Tripp of Washington State University. Tripp coauthored the article with Jeroen Stouten of KU Leuven University, Robert J. Bies of Georgetown University, and David De Cremer of the University of Cambridge and National University of Singapore.
“Employees facing destructive leader behavior or evidence of unethical or illegal action often remain silent, and such silence has been argued to be problematic. We argue that [previous management research offers] a limited and biased view of silence, and contend that it can have value for employees and the organization,” the authors wrote. Both speaking up and staying silent can help employees “confront or resist destructive leadership.”