Conceptualising Silence in External Corporate Communication: A Case Study of Pakistan

Yusuf, Fatima; Yousaf, Amna; Ishaque, Maria and Umrani, Waheed Ali (2023). Conceptualising Silence in External Corporate Communication: A Case Study of Pakistan. Journal of Management Inquiry [Early Access].

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/10564926231194297

Abstract

Although existing research has extensively explored corporate disclosure, a very little is known about why corporate organisations may remain silent while communicating with their external audiences. This study offers a definition of corporate silence and develops a conceptual framework for the study of silence in the narrative communication of corporate organisations. We develop a typology based on the forms and motivations for corporate silence in written corporate documents. Data was gathered from 26 interviews with senior managers from regulatory bodies, audit firms and listed companies in Pakistan and a grounded theory approach was used for data analysis. We postulate that self-protection from fear and discomfort, cooperation, managerial opportunism, apathy, and resistance are the prime motivators of corporate silence. The analysis also leads to the development of five different forms of silence: (1) defensive; (2) prosocial; (3) opportunistic; (4) authoritative; and (5) counteractive.

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