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Whistleblowing and power: a network perspective

Thomas, R. Guy (2020) Whistleblowing and power: a network perspective. Business Ethics: A European Review, 29 (4). pp. 842-855. ISSN 0962-8770. E-ISSN 1467-8608. (doi:10.1111/beer.12290) (KAR id:81905)


This article presents a network perspective on whistleblowing. It considers how whistleblowing affects, and is affected by, the preexisting distribution of power inside and outside an organization, where power is conceptualized as deriving from the network positions of the key actors. The article also highlights four characteristic features of whistleblowing: third‐party detriment, local subversion, appeal to central or external power, and reasonable expectation of concern. The feature of local subversion succinctly explains why whistleblowing is difficult. The feature of appeal to central or external power highlights that contrary to the perception of a democratizing phenomenon, whistleblowing tends to redistribute discretion away from local power toward more central power. This suggests a need for caution about institutional measures to promote whistleblowing in contexts where governance is already highly centralized.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/beer.12290
Uncontrolled keywords: whistleblowing
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
J Political Science > JF Political institutions and public administration
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science
Depositing User: Guy Thomas
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2020 17:08 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 06:44 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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