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Introducing the employee into employee silence: a reconceptualisation of employee silence from the perspective of those with mental health issues within the workplace

Morgan, Kate Elizabeth (2017) Introducing the employee into employee silence: a reconceptualisation of employee silence from the perspective of those with mental health issues within the workplace. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

In recent years, employee silence has emerged as an important construct and field of study. This thesis contributes to knowledge about the ontological foundations of silence, focusing on who is remaining silent and what they are remaining silent about; in this thesis the silence of mental health conditions is explored. It does this through conducting 65 semi-structured, qualitative interviews within TransportCo, a large transport organisation. An alternate reading of silence is presented from the perspective of the employee, whilst interviews with those with managerial authority provide a platform to understand the significance of management and the role of other factors in structuring silence. Consideration is given to how employees perceptions on the procedural opportunities for voice can be influenced. A disparity between TransportCo’s commitments to the voice of those with mental health conditions and practice is` found, demonstrating a lack of genuine commitment from management to develop their organisational strategies on mental health. The role of management in structuring silence through agenda setting, the absence of voice channels and through not building line managers’ soft-skill and mental health knowledge, organises the issues employees’ want to voice out of the voice process. Silence is shown not to be a communicative choice; rather the employees’ agency to make purposeful decisions regarding the voice process is constrained. This thesis contributes to the silence literature by offering an insight into how employees define their own silence by introducing an employee-oriented framework of silence. The thesis demonstrates how employees can regain their agency over the silence process through various silence practices, and the significance social voice plays for challenging aspects of employee-oriented framework of silence. A spiral of voice theory is presented, advancing knowledge on the positive repercussions of social voice on employee perceptions of silence and organisational voice as a whole.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: mental health, mental illness, employee silence, employee voice, spirals of silence, spirals of voice
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Leeds University Business School > Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.721833
Depositing User: Dr Kate Morgan
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2017 09:59
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:55
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17993

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