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    Who is speaking please? the role of identity in attitudes towards whistleblowing

    Van Portfliet, M. and Phillips, Arron (2021) Who is speaking please? the role of identity in attitudes towards whistleblowing. In: Kierans, L. and Lewis, D. and Vandekerckhove, W. (eds.) Selected papers from the International Whistleblowing Research Network conference at Maynooth University. Maynooth, Ireland: International Whistleblowing Research Network, pp. 7-29. ISBN 9780957138438.

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    Abstract

    Whistleblowers have been associated with words such as saint (Grant, 2002), traitor (Rothschild and Miethe, 1999), parrhesiast (e.g. Weiskopf and Tobias -Miersch, 2016), stigma (Van Portfliet, 2020) and a plethora of other terms. The increasing implementation of legislation to protect whistleblowers hints at a societal acceptance and acknowledgment of importance for them, yet stories consistently emerge in the media of the mistreatment and suffering experienced when one speaks out about organizational wrongdoing. How do people actually feel about whistleblowing and whistleblowers? In this paper, we explore this question, by drawing on data from surveys conducted in the UK, Australia and Ireland. Analysing responses from employers and managers/directors of organizations, and comparing these with the responses of employees of organizations yields surprisingly different results. Investigating this, we propose that how one “feels” about whistleblowing depends on what role they are occupying when they are asked. Employers tend to be more optimistic and sympathetic, and employees tend to be more critical. While the ambiguity in attitudes has been noted (Hersch, 2002, Heumann, et al, 2016) studies have highlighted how these change based on, for example, the content of the disclosure and whom the report is made to (Callahan and Collins, 1992), one’s value orientation (Park et al. 2014), and one’s cultural orientation (Park, et al, 2008). We build on these valuable studies, proposing that in addition to these influences, perceptions may be more fluid, potentially changing within individuals as their roles shift. Our contribution is then two-fold. To theory, we offer implications for a more nuanced way of understanding societal attitudes to whistleblowing, and to practice, we offer potential insights to how protections may be more or less effective, depending on who is being called on to support the whistleblower.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Book Section
    School: School of Business, Economics & Informatics > Management
    Research Centres and Institutes: Responsible Business Centre
    Depositing User: Arron Phillips
    Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2022 14:24
    Last Modified: 26 Jan 2022 06:49
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/47034

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