Whistle-blow research

Published: 2018-09-07 11:24:41
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Cultural norms in organizations

Perception toward whistle-blowing has been evolving from those days when loyalty to the company was an ideal norm to a point where corporate misconduct now attracts public outrage thus giving birth to whistle-blowing. Initially, people were silenced and problems were concealed rather than solved. Whistle-blowing is not a way of subjecting an organization to public scrutiny but rather a way of addressing internal shortcoming of an organization thus internal whistle-blowing is the best approach before attempting to resolve problem externally.

According to the authors, McDonald and Ahern (2002, p.16), whistle-blower is a person who identifies an incompetent, unethical, or illegal situation in the workplace and reports it to someone who may have the power to stop the wrong. Organizations have conflicting cultural norms, in some organization whistle-blowers encounter hostility and alienation, on the flip side whistle-blowers can bring about very important changes in an organization because it elevates ethical and legal violation to the attention of the authority for prompt action to resolve the problem. Whenever such issues occur, it is important to raise the issue internally because they can be easily understood and addressed unlike external mechanism that may require extra briefing to comprehend the issues. Although this may face some hitches that include lack of trust in the internal system, but putting up measures that illegalize any form of threat and harassment to whistle-blower can easily address this.

Internal whistle-blowing also minimizes organization’s exposure to negative public scrutiny that may haunt the reputation of an organization. Competitors for instance, can use such information to blow the simple issue out of proposition and ruin the reputation of the company. Using internal mechanism in solving such issues is therefore important because information can be guard secured and solved objectively.

Internal mechanism in organizations 

Raising issues internally also increases confidence and trust between organization and its employees because by stablishing internal whistle blowing mechanism within an organization, organization commitment towards ensuring good governance can be strengthened, moreover, it provides a platform for internal dialogue and transparency. This enables an organization to set a problem-solving culture from within. Sometimes misguided union solidarity can influence employees to explore external mechanism which is never appropriate. This is because after the matter is settled, all the parties need to work together, in this case involving external party without first exploring internal means is a waste of time and malicious. Besides, internal mechanism is amicable way of dressing organizations conflicts without leaving scars and long-term frictions. Some accusations may not also be accurate and genuine, in such a case, external exposure may just amount to malice and speculations and may not objectively address the issue. Unless no action is taken to address concerns of the whistle-blower, it is unnecessary to explore external whistle blowing because it can also embarrass the company and undermining its credibility.

External whistle blowing may attract parties like media and lawyers who may not even be interested in settling and addressing the grievance itself, but rather seek cheap publicity and make a kill out of it. Media may also dig deeper into whistle-blower’s personal live and in some occasions, even force him or her to be a witness. This may bring about threats of retaliation from victims that can cause severe health problems and discomfort. In addition, media may not offer any solution because the problem still requires internal mechanism.

Whistle-blowing may be seen as an act of bravery by outside world but can also have its downside particularly if the issues requires media interview and government investigations. This may expose the whistle-blowers badly to potential employers who may view them as disloyal hence impact on their career prospects negatively. Internal whistle blowing can serve as an early warning sign on the coming risks before they turn into damage and attract lawsuits that may become costly to an organization. It therefore provides an effective early recognition of looming risk which can be managed internally before it gets its way externally.

Social isolation and other unofficial reprisals

Most whistle-blowers have insider’s information that can be very destructive not only to individual reputation but also the entire the organization. Some information; as mentioned earlier may not be factual, hence they may be mere allegations to be proved What if revenge is the motive behind the whistle blowing? Internal mechanism is the best way to provide justice to all parties involved because every person needs to be given a chance to defend him or herself against such allegations. Whistle-blowing can also attract potential retaliations particularly if it touches on the reputations of an individual or the entire organization which can extent to a sense of resentment and hate from core workers if not handled well. This can lead to punitive forms of official reprisal like’ demotion, transfer, reprimand, referral to a psychiatrist, as well as many unofficial reprisals such as social isolation, threats, ostracism as well as pressure to resign’ (McDonald & Ahern, (2002, p. 22). Although this can be controlled through legislation like the Whistle-blower Protection Act of 1989, that protects federal employees who disclose government fraud, abuse, and waste Huston (2014 pg. 260), still, the damage will be already done. In such a case, internal mechanism is the best because it minimizes the level  of organization exposure to negative-public scrutiny  and also provides a chance for parties to internally reconciled since the organization will not be on the defensive like the case of external whistle-blowing.

 Study by McDonald and Ahern (2002), indicated that both whistle-blowers (70 %) and no whistle-blowers (64 %) reported stress-induced physical problems associated with involvement in a whistle-blowing situation. It is good note that whistle-blowing is an extraordinary event since it involves stress and personal risk (Ahern and McDonald 2002). It is therefore important to give a chance to internal mechanism rather than involving external parties who may misrepresent the whole situation and aggravate it even further subjectively.

Long-term impact of workplace Violence, physical, emotional and financial

Violence has penetrated every sector of society, including the workplace, and yet there continues to be difficulty defining these incidents (Huston,2014, p.202). Workplace violence like sexual assault and rape have a psychological effect to the victims. They affect self-esteem and personality of the victim hence affecting interpersonal relationship of the person which in turn affects employee’s performance and commitment to the organization. Organization is also likely to incur unplanned fines from lawsuit in the form of fines if it fails to protect employees from work place related violence. Violence like sexual harassment and assault attract stiff penalties that may be costly to the organization. Assaults that may result to homicide can adversely affect workplace because they are newsworthy and mostly affects employee’s feelings as they try to bear the loss. The cost involved during homicide for instance concerns the entire organization and community at large and it is often enormous.

 Work place violence can have a long-term financial implication. Violence resulting to physical injury and assault can increase insurance related claim in terms of compensations. It can also cause a long-term disruption of normal work thus negatively impacting on productivity. Manifestation of workplace violence like bullying, harassment and verbal abuse have a negative socialization that affects interpersonal relationship (Huston,2014 pg.124). Besides physical injuries, work place violence result in psychological damage that causes post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition largely associated with victims of acute violence like rape and terrorism. This affects individual performance and attitude towards work hence affect organization productivity. It can also cause a psychological trauma that can cause fear, depression, stress syndrome and disturbed relationship. This can lead to increased absenteeism and stress as Huston (2014, p.210) notes work place violence can result in mental harm psychological harm and suicidal thoughts 

Workplace violence affects employees lives and self-esteem. It drastically affects employee’s productivity if not checked when victims are physically injured thus require treatments. This contributes to absenteeism and increased levels of fear. Organization that have no strong policies on workplace violence and well-articulated reporting systems witness increased level of fear and reduction in work moral. Physical assault also lead to increased insurance premium and employee turnover. 

 

References

Huston, C.,.J.(2014). Professional Issues in Nursing CHALLENGES & Opportunities Baltimore,MD:Wolters Kluwer Healthy/Lippincott Williams &Wilkins, 200-290

https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/whistle-blower_rights.pdf

McDonald, S., & Ahern, K. (2002). Physical and emotional effects of whistle-blowing. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services, 40(1), 14-27.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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