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How Empowering Leadership Reduces Employee Silence in Public Organizations

Journal Title Public Administration
Published Date November 18, 2018
Research Type
Authors Russell Hassan


The intentional withholding of critical work-related information can have serious negative consequences in public organizations. Yet, few studies have examined why public employees intentionally remain silent about problems and how to prevent such behaviour. This article provides insights into how managers may lower employee silence in government organizations. We develop a model that suggests that empowering leadership by frontline supervisors reduces public employee silence, by improving employee trust in their supervisors, granting employees control over their jobs, and strengthening identification with the organization. We test the model in two cross-sectional studies with data collected from all employees working in two local governments in the United States. We find empirical support for the model in both studies. We discuss the implications of the research results for public management scholarship and practice.

Hassan, S., DeHart-Davis, L., & Jiang, Z. (2019). How Empowering Leadership Reduces Employee Silence in Public Organizations. Public Administration, 97, 116–131.