Overcoming Fear, Fostering Courage and Unleashing Candour
Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 7: Some implications of the voice literature for research on whistle-blowing
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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