Voice and Whistleblowing in Organizations

Voice and Whistleblowing in Organizations

Overcoming Fear, Fostering Courage and Unleashing Candour

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Cary L. Cooper

This book examines the decision to speak out in organizations or to keep silent, the roles of fear and courage, and why increasing valid information and truth is central to individual and organizational health. Employees in organizations face countless daily situations in which they make a choice to speak up, exercise voice, or remain silent. Too many choose to remain silent. Others only tell supervisors what they want to hear, becoming ‘yes’ men and women. Expressing one’s voice increases individual health and well-being and enhances learning, quality and timeliness of decision making, work engagement, and ultimately team and organizational success. This volume, containing chapters by international researchers, examines the causes and consequences of exercising voice and ways individuals and organizations can support voice in the workplace.

Chapter 7: Some implications of the voice literature for research on whistle-blowing

Marcia P. Miceli and Janet P. Near

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour

Extract

The power of whistle-blowing and exercise of voice was illustrated by recent events at the University of Virginia, a top-tier public institution in the US. The president, who had served for two years of her five-year contract, was forced to resign by members of the Board of Trustees, comprised exclusively of businesspersons who had been appointed to serve by the current and former governors of the state of Virginia. Immediately, students, faculty, staff, donors, alumni, and others in the community, expressed their concerns regarding perceived inadequate reasons for the forced resignation (e.g., that the university was not moving quickly enough to implement more online programs), and regarding poor process (e.g., in not informing the president of perceived performance issues and asking her to address them). Demonstrations were organized, and one eminent university professor, computer scientist William Wulf, resigned in protest. The governor then ordered the board to reconsider its actions and come to consensus; members met, then unanimously agreed that the president should be reinstated, and she accepted (e.g., Johnson et al., 2012).

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