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Tue, 30 Nov



Silence is golden?

Selective silence and insider threat: the collateral damage of unintended messages for organisational security. Work psychology science explores why silence in organisations can be far from a good thing, why it occurs, how to detect and remedy its unintended consequences.

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Silence is golden?
Silence is golden?

Time & Location

30 Nov 2021, 09:00 – 12:00 GMT



About the Event

The event will be open to those in employing organisations and interested in the topic. Given the sensitivities around the topic pre-registration will be required to enable some in our panel to participate. Based on our prior 2019 FoSS event, this will attract further interest from employers, HR and security professionals, health and social care, and the police. It builds on our earlier well-received EAWOP impact incubator event of June.

“Silence is golden” they say, however, work & organisational psychological (WOP) science shows that it can also be dangerous for individuals, organisations and society when people do not feel able to express or actively withhold information and concerns. 

Recent examples of the huge consequences of silence range from the #MeToo scandals of the entertainment industry, to young peoples’ abuse in sports, children’s homes and the military, or in fraud such as Serco or Greensill, and ransomware attacks including East coast fuel line and AXA. 

In this FoSS event we launch our new short animation that outlines how and why employee silence can arise. Four short science-based talks reveal the science behind why silence arises, how it can be detected and the negative impacts ameliorated. 

Following these talks a practitioner panel discussion considering how WOP research informs their practice and leads to the development of safer and more resilient organisations. They will identify key challenges and issues.

Those attending this event will gain insight into the impact of silence, understanding 8 different reasons that silence can arise, and how the impacts of silence can be reduced in organisations. They will have a preview of the new animation which subsequently will be made publicly available and used to raise awareness of the destructive role of silence in organisations.

9:00 Introductions and welcome - Prof Rosalind Searle

9:05 Launch new animation

9:15 Short science talk 1: Silence in organizations: What do we know, what do we need to know? 

Dr. Michael Knoll (University of Leipzig, Germany)

9:30 Short science talk 2: Understanding why saints become sinners – 

Dr. Yannick Griep (Radboud University, The Netherlands)

9:45 Short science talk 3: Prosocial vs deviant silence: Perspectives on collateral damage for an organisation

Dr. Charis Rice (Coventry University)

10:00 Short science talk 4: Developing a moral voice: How to prevent silence: 

Dr. Roberta Fida (University of East Anglia)

10:20 short break

10.30 – 11.45 Panel on silence from securities and employers – chaired by Prof Rosalind Searle – short introduction from each about their organisations and the value of applied WOP research in their area:

  • HR (CIPD’s CEO Peter Cheese); 
  • Regulation (Professional Standards Authority for Health & Social Care’s (PSA) Assistant Director of Standards and Policy - Douglas Bilton); 
  • threats and securities (member of the UK’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, working in its Personnel Security and People Risk area); and 
  • Aviation (ENAC - Italian Civil Aviation Authority’s Director of HR – Fabiola Cardea), 

11.45 wrap-up event

The event would be recorded, subtitles added and these talks hosted on the EAWOP impact incubator’s YouTube site.

This event is part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2021 and was made possible thanks to funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

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