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Why it is so hard to speak up in a toxic culture

Corporate culture shapes everyday working life, and we often advise on projects that involve cultural change. However, there is a part of the story that is less openly talked about: a toxic workplace culture. This can result, for example, in discrimination. To think in a solution-oriented way, it is helpful to know the scientific findings in which conditions the employees speak out and defend themselves and others, and when they do not. Based on this we can derive ways to change this culture. One key factor is leadership, and the organization’s willingness to foster open communication, even in difficult and controversial cases. Collective silence favors a toxic culture. Breaking the silence without the employees fearing negative consequences is essential.