The Silent and the Silenced in Organizational Knowing and Learning

Deborah Blackman, Eugene Sadler-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Research on silence within organizations and learning is sparse. This article is concerned with exploring the concept of silence in organizational settings, delineating its various forms (silent and silenced) and critically examining the relevance of these various manifestations for management and organizational learning. Following a brief review of the concept of the Polanyian notion of tacitness and how it relates to our conceptualization of silence, we offer a taxonomy of silence comprised of several ways of knowing (tacit, intuitive, insightful and pre-conscious) and voice (repressed, withheld and suppressed). The theoretical and practical implications of the taxonomy for management education, training and development are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-585
Number of pages17
JournalManagement Learning
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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