Organization studies research exposes the need to examine power relations embedded within the design of organizations, the construction of normative behaviour, and the production of socially constructed meanings that lead to the removal of employee voice. Drawing upon 21 qualitative interviews with Premiership football academy members, this article examines the regulation, control and ‘silencing’ of young English professional footballers. Building upon two existing literatures concerning the institutional dynamics of footballing traineeship, and the concept of organizational ‘silence’, the article explains how characteristics associated with surveillance mechanisms and the perpetuation of institutional norms lead to the configuration of a climate of silence. Utilizing the work of Michel Foucault and Erving Goffman, the article addresses the call for an understanding of the interplay between social actors and the confines of their structural context as an example of restrictive practice and for providing insight into the ‘how’ of silencing.
- elite sport
- organizational culture