Employer Silencing in a Context of Voice Regulations: Case Studies of Non-Compliance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Eugene Hickland
  • Niall Cullinane
  • Tony Dobbins
  • Tony Dundon
  • Jimmy Donaghey

External organisations

  • Dublin City University Business School, Dublin City University
  • Queens University Management School, Queen's University Belfast
  • University of Manchester
  • Warwick Business School, University of Warwick


This article, drawing on the latest insights into organisational silence, considers how employers seek to withhold information and circumvent meaningful workplace voice when confronted with regulatory requirements. It offers novel theoretical insights by redefining employer silencing as characterised by the withholding of information and the restriction of workplace dialogue. In outlining three principal routes of non-compliance— avoidance, suppression, and neglect—we empirically illustrate the path to silence in the regulatory context of the European Union Directive establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees. Rather than considering how employers utilised the regulations, as existing research considers, we look at how employers circumvented the regulatory space in three case studies in the United Kingdom and Ireland and the significant role of employer silencing as a tool
for explaining this dynamic.


Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Resource Management Journal
Early online date20 Feb 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Feb 2020


  • employers, information and consultation, regulation, silence, voice