What Can We Learn from Existing Whistleblowing Legislation and Research?
Edited by David B. Lewis
Chapter 7: Loyalty and Whistleblowing in Norway: How Roles Come into Play
Dr Marit Skivenes and Dr Sissel Trygstad INTRODUCTION Studies of employees in Norway show that they have reported to a great extent what they characterize as serious wrongdoing at their workplace. About eight out of ten employees blow the whistle on their observations, that is, report them to someone that can do something about the situation1 (Norwegian Statistics, 2006; Skivenes and Trygstad, 2007; cf. Miceli and Near’s 2002 definition of whistleblowing). One important reason for the high rate of reporting could be that Norwegian employees experience themselves as empowered and autonomous in the sense that they have high job security, different channels for ‘voice’ inside the organization, and the State’s arrangements that provide extensive welfare services for all unemployed in particular and for all citizens in general (Skivenes and Trygstad, forthcoming). Empowered and autonomous employees might present challenges to employers and companies, as employees can be disloyal, misuse their power, create mistrust at the workplace and have aims other than those that the organization wants to achieve. This chapter sheds light on these challenges by addressing loyalty obligations: should employees be loyal to their employer, to professional standards, to service users, to their co-workers, to their local community, to their own moral standards or to their own self-interests? More significantly, can employees handle conflicting loyalties and how do they do so? Our aim is to shed light on the loyalty dilemmas that employees might face in their daily work and how this might influence their whistleblowing activity. We start with...
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