Silence in Aviation: Development and Validation of a Tool to Measure Reasons for Aircraft Maintenance Staff not Reporting



Background and purpose: Organizational silence, seen as the greatest obstacle to the success of organizations and expressed as a refraining from expressing feelings, and ideas about problems encountered in their organi­zations, is identified as the avoidance of voluntary reporting in aviation organizations. The main purpose of this research is to identify and develop a tool to measure the various reasons for aviation employees’ remaining silent about the unsafe acts and events they witness, and the factors causing them to refrain from adopting safety en­hancement proposals.
Methodology: Within the scope of the study, a data collection tool was developed. Explanatory and confirmatory factor analysis of the data obtained from 483 employees was conducted to test the reasons for not reporting volun­tarily in aviation.
Results: As a result, it was found that employees did not participate in voluntary reporting due to factors of silence based on relational and prosocial factors, disengagement, quiescence and acquiescence, along with fear and defen­siveness.
Conclusion: Accordingly, organizations need to acknowledge and act with the awareness that organizational silence is a common phenomenon. The importance of voluntary reporting should be explained to employees at every oppor­tunity and the number of quality voluntary reports should be increased. However, this should go beyond the simple slogans of ‘Safety comes first in this workplace’ or ‘Safety first’ hanging on the wall of every organization.
Keywords: Organizational silence, Reporting, Safety management system, Aircraft maintenance

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