Tag Archives: Elizabeth Wolfe Morrison

Why Employees Often Remain Silent and What Needs to be Done to Encourage Speaking Up

by Elizabeth Wolfe Morrison

For a compliance program to be effective, employees must be willing to report suspected wrongdoing.  But it cannot be assumed that employees who see or suspect something will say something.  It has been estimated that less than half of all employees who witness wrongdoing report it.  Wells Fargo is a good case in point.  It is clear that a large number of employees recognized that something was not right.  Some spoke up and were ignored.  Others didn’t even speak up.

We all like to believe that we are ethical people and that when faced with a tough choice we will do the right thing.  But the evidence suggests otherwise.  Good people often find themselves in situations that create strong social cues or even overt pressures to withhold information about misconduct.  The result is what’s known as “employee silence.” Continue reading