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Whistle-Blowing in Organisations and Its Consequences


According to Grace and Cohen (2010), whistle-blowing refers to the act of making known things that an organization wishes to keep secret to protect its image. Even though this may work for a while, an organization might suffer negative consequences in the long run.

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Is all Genuine Whistle-blowing External?

Drawing from the study by Arszulowicz and Gasparski (2011), the term whistle-blowing is deemed to have its origin in two related activities. First, it is linked to the practice of police officers who would blow whistles during an arrest. Second, the term is associated with the action of referees who would blow their whistles to stop an action. Generally, a whistle-blower may be an employee in an organization or a person not associated with the organization in any way. Whether internal or external, the role of whistle-blowing is to disclose the negative aspects of an organization to the public. Typically, this is done to protect the interest of stakeholders and members of the public interested in the organization. Since whistle-blowing is about making sure that an organization is honest in its dealings, it is obvious that the organization also benefits in the end. As long as the organization knows that there are individuals who are concerned about integrity, it will work hard to be open and avoid any dealings that can put its reputation in danger.

Many people are of the opinion that unlike internal whistle-blowing, external whistle-blowing is genuine and can be trusted. According to Grace and Cohen (2010), it is an external whistle-blowing that is genuine. Internal whistle-blowing on the other hand is regarded as part of the normal feedback system in an organization.

There is a likelihood that internal whistle-blowing may expose things about an organization unfairly. Without a doubt, the information disclosed to the public by internal whistle-blowing may be falsely leading to unfair treatment of the organization. On the contrary, external whistle-blowing is usually by an independent party with no selfish desires. It is thus easier for people to accept what is presented through external whistle-blowing.

However, it is imperative to note that not all external whistle-blowers are genuine. There are instances where staff in an organization or competitors may collude to damage the reputation of the organization through whistle-blowing. For this reason, it is necessary to vet what is provided through external whistle-blowing to know whether the intentions are genuine.

As noted by Arszulowicz and Gasparski (2011), it is absolutely necessary to outline rules and regulations for governing whistle-blowing. This is a very important consideration if individuals have to be prevented from taking advantage of whistle-blowing to publicize negative things about an organization.

Without an effective mechanism for controlling how whistle-blowing is to be carried out, innocent organizations or even individuals may be left at the mercy of dishonest people. For this reason, there is a need to ensure that whistle-blowing is done sincerely. Honesty when it comes to whistle-blowing will help organizations to take responsibility for any wrongdoing and work toward making corrections if required to do so.

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A false testimony through dishonest whistle-blowing will only serve to create unnecessary arguments and make an organization become defensive. In the end, the arguments that arise will be of no benefit to anyone. In addition, time and money get wasted in the process and mentioned, the organization loses in many other ways.

What can happen to People who Blow the Whistle?

Grace and Cohen (2010) argued that whistle-blowing is a question of judgment. Apparently, there are no tough rules that have been put in place to govern whistle-blowing. Unfortunately, this can lead to people making false allegations about an organization that they are not happy with.

Although there are many people who strongly believe that whistleblowing should be made mandatory in certain cases, research findings clearly point to the fact that whistle-blowing is an issue that requires one to make a morally acceptable judgment. Unfortunately, making a wrong decision may put an organization at risk and individuals might suffer. It is thus critical for a whistle-blower to ensure that he or she has all the necessary facts about the given situation before blowing the whistle.

Regrettably, people who blow the whistle may end up being very lonely. By and large, a whistle-blower exposes what is meant to be hidden from the public by an organization for selfish reasons. Without a doubt, any organization that is badly exposed develops bitterness and may not want to be associated with the whistle-blower.

Whistle-blowing helps to ensure that an organization operates in an honest manner and relays information about its operations to the public as it is. However, while whistle-blowers are there to help shape organizations by disclosing dirty dealings, it is important to ensure that this is not misused by people with selfish ambitions and desire to bring down an organization. Rules and regulations to govern whistle-blowing must be put in place for it to be effective and to produce the desired results.

As mentioned previously, the role of a whistle-blower is to expose things hidden by an organization in order to fool the public and stakeholders. Ordinarily, managers indulge in such dirty tricks to create an impression that all is well while in a real sense, things may be crumbling. Unfortunately, whistle-blowers risk being mistreated by influential individuals who may stop them from speaking the truth. Consequently, there should be a mechanism in place to protect whistle-blowers and encourage them to go ahead and expose the rot in organizations.

While an external whistle-blower can survive attacks of an affected organization, the same cannot be said of an internal whistle-blower. As noted by Grace and Cohen (2010), an internal whistle-blower may risk losing his or her job for exposing an organization that he or she works for. However, considering the importance of whistle-blowing, organizations must devise strategies to create a work environment that promotes openness. This will ensure that anyone with vital information about the organization makes it known in good time to save the organization.

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In some cases, it is possible for an internal whistle-blower to be demoted or be subjected to other forms of mistreatment as long as they continue to work for the same organization. This calls for the need to guarantee the safety and security of whistle-blowers. Anyone who blows the whistle deserves to be kept safe from any form of unfair treatment by other employees in the organization. As a matter of fact, there should be a reward scheme to recognize whistle-blowers in organizations. Clearly, such a scheme will motivate more people to be on the lookout and report any unusual behavior by colleagues. Eventually, this will help to build honest organizations that are concerned about delivering quality to customers.


Every organization is concerned about having a good status in society. Unfortunately, this has pushed business enterprises to the level where they are willing to do almost anything including falsifying the true state of affairs reading operations. For this reason, whistle-blowers are required.


Arszulowicz, M., & Gasparski, W. (2011). Whistle-blowing: In Defense of Proper Action. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Grace D., & Cohen, S. (2010). Business Ethics (4th ed.). South Melbourne Victoria 3205, Australia: Oxford University Press.

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