The Ethics of Silence: The Sense of the Meeting

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Title: The Ethics of Silence: The Sense of the Meeting
Authors: Kavanagh, Donncha
Brigham, Martin
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/9154
Date: 1-Sep-2016
Abstract: This paper is about the relationship between talk and silence, with a particular focus on the role of silence in business meetings. We suggest that this is an important but neglected area of focus in Organization and Management Studies. Our paper aims to contribute to understanding the constitutive role of silence in organizations through a discussion and analysis of the ‘Quaker Business Method’. We argue that that there has been limited attention to silence and silent practices in Organization and Management Studies (see Kuhling et al. 2003). Our intention is to open up silence as a concept worthy of further study in the field of management (see Law 1998 for a study of Quaker meeting practices, and Spivak et al. (1996) on how the subaltern cannot speak). We focus on the way in which silence is deployed in the business meetings of the Religious Society of Friends—more commonly known as Quakers. We begin the paper with an overview the relevance of silence in Organization and Management Studies. This is followed by an introduction to the Religious Society of Friends and how silent meeting is the central feature of Quakers’ practice: the central feature of Quakers practice is the combination of silence and collective meeting. In terms of empirical material, we draw upon what others have said about their experience of a Quaker Meeting for Business, observation at a Quaker clerk workshop, and our experience of organising a ‘Quakerly’ silent meeting at an academic conference.
Type of material: Conference Publication
Publisher: Irish Academy of Management
Keywords: Silence;Quakers;Management
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Conference Details: Irish Academy of Management Annual Conference, University College Dublin, Ireland, 31 August- 2 September 2016
Appears in Collections:Business Research Collection

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