Self-silencing has been extensively studied in the context of the relational aspect of the female psyche. The previous research on self-silencing mostly emphasized on intimate partner relationships and not much is explored in the context of workplace relationships, that is, relationships with colleagues, team managers etc. The present study aims to explore the self-silencing phenomenon in workplace relationships among a sample of female software engineers (N=21) in India. A purposive sampling strategy was used to select the participants of the study. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted to collect the data for the thematic analysis. At first, theoretical thematic analysis was done where Dana C. Jack’s (1991) self-silencing theory has been used as the theoretical lens. Then, inductive thematic analysis has been used for unravelling the mechanisms, antecedents, consequences involved in self-silencing inside the organization. The result revealed that the need to maintain relationships, need to conform to the traditional feminine roles, a sense of powerlessness, and some factors inherent to the culture of the organization functioned as the antecedents of self-silencing in the organizational setting. Self-silencing inside an organization is also found to affect the female software engineers’ psychological wellbeing and their growth in career. Moreover, it hampers the growth of the organization since negative experiences inside organizations go unreported and women self-silence their views and opinions in group meetings leading to organizational ignorance.


Gender Roles, Self-Silencing, Thematic Analysis, Women in Technology

Author Bio(s)

Sucharita Maji has been pursuing her doctoral degree in psychology from Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India. Her area of interest broadly lies in the area of gender and psychology. She works on topics related to “gender stereotyping in STEM” and “gender in social psychiatry.” Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: smaji@iitk.ac.in.

Dr. Shikha Dixit is Professor of Psychology in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. Currently, she is the Head of the HSS Department. She has been in the profession since the last 24 years and has contributed significantly. She has published widely and has contributed to the discipline through research, teaching, PhD supervision and academic administration. Her areas of research include social cognition, health psychology, social representations, and illness narratives.

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