Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Many silences : an application of grid-group cultural theory to reticence in Saudi Arabian educational institutions
Author: Alraies, Fadiah
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 3402
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Organisational silence is an essential aspect of the field of organisational behaviour, examining why and how information, ideas or opinions are withheld by individuals within organisations. Silence in the organisation can take place between employees and their managers, thus cutting across different levels of an organisation. Attempts are made to understand this phenomenon through exploring the specific types of - and reasons for - silence. Whilst existing literature has provided an important contribution to the field, it arguably has many shortcomings in relation to adequately explaining or understanding this phenomenon. According to the existing literature, which addresses the main four types of silence (Prosocial, Acquiescent, Quiescent and Opportunistic), this study intended to further explore these forms of silence using Grid-Group Cultural Theory (GGCT). It is suggested that this theory provides a more effective approach to understanding silence; through examining how types of silence are produced through thought styles; including fatalistic, individualistic, hierarchical and egalitarian. In addition, GGCT helps to determine more types of silence than currently exist in the literature. This study was based on a qualitative methodology seeking to understand why people tend to keep silent. Semi-structured interviews were held with 32 respondents, made up of six managers and 26 employees. These were based in six female educational institutions, working under the umbrella of the education ministry to supervise public and private schools, from kindergarten to high school, in Riyadh, in the context of Saudi Arabia. Using semi-structured interviews, the respondents were asked questions relating to their thoughts and reasons for silence in the work setting. The data collected from the respondents were analysed using NVivo and three key results emerged. First, there are more types of silence than indicated in the existing literature. Each form of culture tends to come with a certain type of silence. Fatalistic thought style, for example, produces acquiescent and quiescent types of silence. Egalitarian thought style, on the other hand, produces prosocial types of silence. The individualistic thought style produces opportunistic silence and hierarchical thought style produces some types of silence, including respectful, empathetic and silence for the purpose of feigning ignorance. The research data suggested that each type of silence comes with one dominant type of thought style, which conflicts with findings of voice studies which show how voice emerges through a combination of thought styles. The fatalistic thought style, however, was found to be a key element (if only a small element) which worked with all other types of thought styles, in order to produce silence. Further research is needed to explain why and to what extent the fatalistic thought style plays a role here. Research into how thought styles produce silence and voice at the same time would also be beneficial, as the boundaries between silence and voice remain unclear.
Supervisor: Smith, S. ; Simpson, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Organisational silence ; Employee and leadership silence ; Types of silence ; Thought styles ; Critical realism