Whistleblowing and Democratic Values

THE INTERNATIONAL WHISTLEBLOWING RESEARCH NETWORK, W. Vanderckhove & D. Lewis, eds., International Whistleblowing Research Network, 2011

149 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2012 Last revised: 8 Feb 2012

See all articles by Wim Vandekerckhove

Wim Vandekerckhove

University of Greenwich Business School

David Lewis

Middlesex University - Business School

Date Written: December 28, 2011


This Open Source ebook is based on the papers presented at the 2nd International Whistleblowing Research conference (2011 at Middlesex University, London).

Democracy stands for self-government and human autonomy, for participating in decisions that affect our lives. We often think about democracy only as a political system where we elect those who will make laws that affect us. Yet everyday decisions taken in all kinds of organisations impact on us just as much. Therefore we have to know when decisions taken in organisations are going to affect us in ways that differ from the official organisational discourse. Whistleblowing plays a role in providing that knowledge and thus is a means to democracy.

Introduction p4 David Lewis & Wim Vandekerckhove

Whistleblowing as Fearless Speech: The Radical Democratic Effects of Late Modern Parrhesia p12 Abraham Mansbach draws our attention to this political vision that the act of whistleblowing embodies and represents. In his chapter he examines whistleblowing as ‘parrhesia’, a practice of 'fearless speech'

An Empirical Study of Whistleblower Policies in United States Corporate Codes of Ethics p27 Richard Moberly & Lindsey E. Wylie examine whistleblowing provisions in codes of conduct of US publicly traded corporations. How do US private sector organisations persuade or even instruct their employees to take up 'fearless speech', and how credible is this?

Whistleblowing Management is Risk Management p57 Eva Tsahuridu discusses the management of whistleblowing through codes of conduct but looks at it from an organisational culture perspective. More precisely, she asks what rationale there is for internal whistleblowing from a risk management point of view. She argues that a paradigm shift is taking place.

The Value of an Ombuds System in Whistleblowing Situations p70 Björn Rohde-Liebenau makes an important bridge from the internal management of whistleblowing to how this is relevant at the societal level. He puts forward his vision of the role of an ombuds-system in whistleblowing about corruption as a way of showing how internal systems can be made to work for the benefit of both the enterprise and a democratic society.

Flying Foxes and Freedom of Speech: Statutory Recognition of Public Whistleblowing in Australia p86 AJ Brown reviews the state of whistleblowing law reform in Australia. In doing so, he offers a valuable analysis of how recognition of the role of public whistleblowing can both secure democracy as well as be democratic in its own right.

The UK Bribery Act 2010, Business Integrity and Whistleblowers p102 Indira Carr examines the provisions on whistleblowing in the anti-corruption conventions that the UK has ratified in order to provide the context for a discussion of the Bribery Act 2010 and the accompanying Guidance Document issued by the Secretary of State.

Whistleblowing, Risk and Regulation p115 Cathy James comments on the protection afforded to workers who make external disclosures under the UK Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA, now Part IVA of the Employment Rights Act 1996). She argues that further regulation is needed for the proper operation of any law or system intended to protect whistleblowers, and how civil society is a vital element in that.

Preventing and Dealing with Retaliation Against Whistleblowers p127 Brita Bjørkelo & Stig Berge Matthiesen outline the background to and the impact of their research in Norway. They then describe the link between whistleblowing, retaliation, workplace bullying and health. Their overview of the micro-politics of whistleblowing is well theorised with a typology of retaliation, and a description of common symptoms reported after exposure to reprisals and workplace bullying.

Keywords: Whistleblowing, whistle-blowing, democracy, parrhesia, bullying, codes of conduct, risk management

JEL Classification: J53, J59, K29, K39, M12, M14

Suggested Citation

Vandekerckhove, Wim and Lewis, David, Whistleblowing and Democratic Values (December 28, 2011). THE INTERNATIONAL WHISTLEBLOWING RESEARCH NETWORK, W. Vanderckhove & D. Lewis, eds., International Whistleblowing Research Network, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1998293

Wim Vandekerckhove (Contact Author)

University of Greenwich Business School ( email )

Old Royal Naval College
Park Row, Greenwich
London SE10
United Kingdom

David Lewis

Middlesex University - Business School ( email )

The Burroughs
London, NW4 4BT
United Kingdom

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