ETHICAL ISSUES OF WHISTLEBLOWING IN ORGANIZATIONS: THE UNKNOWN LESSON FOR CORPORATE MANAGEMENT
Keywords:whistle-blowers, loyalty, retaliation, procedures
We summarize what has been learned about whistle-blowers research and suggest strategies that managers can use to deal effectively with whistleblowing events. Through this study, we argue that if whistleblowing represents a tradeoff between fairness and loyalty, then going forward, it will be crucial to explore the kinds of groups that, in a sense, minimize this tradeoff in the service of promoting constructive behavior. Understanding organisations as complex systems, the whistle-blower is not that person who stands in opposition to the organisation but is its very manifestation. Thus in retaliating against the whistle-blower, the organisation retaliates against itself. The whistleblowing practices could be boosted by emphasising in the organization policies that whistle-blowers will be protected against retaliation and that allegations that are both false and malicious will lead to disciplinary proceedings. In general, however, this study notes that an employee’s experience of what happens when concerns are raised may well be more important than the existence of proper procedures.
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