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Research Whistleblowing

I’ve been researching whistleblowing over the last few days, trying to find the reasons people do and don’t do it. It’s fascinating really. When I blew the whistle in Afghanistan, I didn’t even consider myself as a Whistleblower, much less even understand what it was. Of course I knew the term, but I didn’t have a clue surrounding the legalities and the like. This post, research whistleblowing, will help organisations implement the best whistleblowing systems.

When you scratch the surface, like most scholarly articles, they just reflect life and the results from the research rarely shock or provide unconsidered insight. They just reinforce considered thought.

Below are the articles I found most interesting.

Research Whistleblowing scholary articles

Effective Speak up arrangements for whistleblowers.

Protecting Whistleblowers in the UK

Internal Whistleblowing Systems

From Trust to Mistrust – Whistleblowing management in Companies

You can read through these documents or you could just take it from me the headline news from them is thus:

The Best Whistleblowing systems

  • Whistleblowing is only ever successful in organisations when it is proactively supported from the top.
  • Reports are best investigated by dedicated staff, who support the cause and are independent of both sides (at least as much as they can be).
  • Guidance on what is and is not a whistleblowing matter helps staff to know not to report one off grievances through the system.
  • Whistleblowing enhances corporate responsibility in ESG principles and helps organisations reduce internal losses more than audits or law enforcement.
  • Anonymity is a critical aspect to encourage people to come forward.
  • Following up on concerns is critically important to ensure the system is considered credible.
  • Whistleblowing uncovers previously hidden risk for organisations.
  • Ensuring publication of the whistleblowing policy and explaining sanctions for any manager who retaliates against a whistleblower nefariously will encourage reports.
  • The best whistleblowing systems have ways to re-route matters that aren’t whistleblowing. To HR, or local management to resolve.
  • The best whistleblowing systems have channels to the C-suite so the really risky reports get attention and thought from the top.

None of that should be seen as rocket science. The whole ethos of whistleblowing relates to morality and human emotion. It is emotive. Managers frequently react negatively as their emotions to someone reporting take over considered thought. And of course, just as whistleblowing uncovers hidden risks, it can also be used nefariously by employees looking to cause trouble.

Only yesterday, I was engaged in a facebook conversation about this. I posted about the shocking fact the NHS do not facilitate true anonymity for its whistleblowers. I was promoting the fact it should. A person posted that they agreed but that fines or even imprisonment should be a possibility if people report stuff maliciously.

That viewpoint shocked me. Because the poster is not seeing the likelihood if we ‘imprisoned’ whistleblowers, even malicious ones, it would stop anyone ever reporting again. What we need is balance here. Of course there will be people hell bent on causing trouble and a whistleblowing system is a way for them to do that. BUT! If we use that as a reason to not facilitate whistleblowing a whole range of corporate scandals would never come to light. And significant internal theft or fraud from a business would go un-noticed. And people would lose their lives through health and safety breaches. And the environment would be harmed, and on and on…

Whistleblowing systems when implemented properly help organisations live up to their ESG responsibilities. They create a better society for all.

If you’re in an organisation that doesn’t have a system and you have something you need to report, we can help you remain anonymous doing so. Simply download the apps below and make your concern on the system. Our system will ‘auto’ ask you some questions of where to send your report, and then send it to your organisation. They can then enter dialogue with you to resolve the issue.

Research whistleblowing  - whistleblowing software and aml risk solutions
Research whistleblowing article - whistleblowing software and aml risk solutions