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    How do we talk about whistleblowing?: a pragmatic textual discursive analysis of institutionalised whistleblowing in the UK banking industry

    Hornby, Elizabeth Jane (2021) How do we talk about whistleblowing?: a pragmatic textual discursive analysis of institutionalised whistleblowing in the UK banking industry. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    The study addresses a gap in the literature in relation to industry-specific, discursive studies of institutionalised whistleblowing and seeks to further develop theoretical understanding of the discursive processes that underpin institutional theory, specifically the role of texts as mediator between action and discourse. It is timely due to the growing global trend towards the institutionalisation of whistleblowing. The study explores the discourse of institutionalised whistleblowing in the UK banking industry through a pragmatic discursive analysis of the whistleblowing texts of 59 UK Banks. It asks how the discourse has been shaped and whether it constitutes an embedded social construction. The study’s findings suggest that the institutionalisation of whistleblowing promotes a distinct discourse, particularly in highly-regulated industries, that is bifurcated, comprising two distinct and conflicting strands; termed Prescriptive and Conceptual Discourse in the study. The findings further suggest that this bifurcation is driven by the complex positioning of institutionalised whistleblowing as both an operative and official organisational problem and that the complexity is particularly marked in relation to wrongdoing and responsibility. The former has significant implications for the protection of employees and the latter supports the argument in the literature that the institutionalisation of whistleblowing fundamentally changes the nature of the act. The study concludes that the way in which UK Banks ‘talk’ about whistleblowing is shaped by the texts of legal, regulatory and best practice actors within the industry, that the discourse in those texts is itself conflicted and ambiguous and that the conflict and ambiguity has promoted the ethical responsibilisation of the employees of UK Banks. It further concludes that the ambiguous and unresolved quality of the discourse may not prevent it from constituting an embedded social construction, as the ambiguity and conflict appear to be both acknowledged and accepted within the industry.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2021 10:50
    Last Modified: 18 Nov 2021 14:17


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