Whistleblowers in Organisations: Prophets at Work?
This article argues that the study of biblical prophets offers a profound contribution to understanding the experience, role and attributes of whistleblowers. Little is known in the literature about the moral triggers that lead individuals to blow the whistle in organisations or why whistleblowers may show persistence against the harshness experienced as a result of their actions. This article argues that our understanding of the whistleblower’s work is highly informed by appreciating how moral values and norms are exercised by prophets in seeking to become agents for change. This article identifies three core implications that have practical and theoretical relevance. The first concerns how the whistleblowing activity challenges the established order of an organisation as this is comprised of institutional structures, policies and procedures. Institutions display an unusual fragility against the seemingly powerless individual who helps reveal the wrongdoing. By disclosing ‘hidden’ knowledge concerning illegitimate intentions and actions, the seemingly powerless individual creates tension that has implications for the stability and order of the organisation. The second implication concerns the degree of social concern and the individual’s interpretation of morality. Whistleblowers, like prophets, display concern for moral values that have implications for the welfare of others, and which they seek to promote through their whistleblowing act. The third implication concerns the importance of agency. By taking a moral stance, the whistleblower assumes an important agentic role facilitating change through his/her intervention. Although such change is sudden and unpredictable it brings about new conditions for the organisation and its members. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 110 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.springer.com|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.springer.com/social+sciences/applied+ethics/journal/10551/PS2|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Agency Problems and Residual Claims," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 327-349, June.
- Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
- Rees, Ray, 1985. "The Theory of Principal and Agent: Part 2," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(2), pages 75-95, May.
- Hayne E. Leland, 1998.
"Agency Costs, Risk Management, and Capital Structure,"
Journal of Finance,
American Finance Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1213-1243, 08.
- Hayne E. Leland., 1998. "Agency Costs, Risk Management, and Capital Structure," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-278, University of California at Berkeley.
- Thomas Carson & Mary Verdu & Richard Wokutch, 2008. "Whistle-Blowing for Profit: An Ethical Analysis of the Federal False Claims Act," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 77(3), pages 361-376, February.
- Rees, Ray, 1985. "The Theory of Principal and Agent: Part 1," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(1), pages 3-26, January.
- Near, Janet P. & Rehg, Michael T. & Van Scotter, James R. & Miceli, Marcia P., 2004. "Does Type of Wrongdoing Affect the Whistle-Blowing Process?," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(02), pages 219-242, April.
- Hayden Teo & Donella Caspersz, 2011. "Dissenting Discourse: Exploring Alternatives to the Whistleblowing/Silence Dichotomy," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 104(2), pages 237-249, December.
- Paul M. Healy & Krishna G. Palepu, 2003. "The Fall of Enron," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(2), pages 3-26, Spring. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:110:y:2012:i:1:p:71-84. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)or (Rebekah McClure)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.