As we discussed in a recent blog post, the number of whistleblowing cases has increased significantly in the last few years. There is no doubt that the progress and expansion of whistleblower laws and protections have played a role in this increase.
However, according to Forbes, there are a few other factors and trends behind the increase of public whistleblower complaints as well.
The question of loyalty is, unfortunately, common in whistleblower cases
Company loyalty is often a conflicting and controversial issue that whistleblowers face, according to a 2015 study regarding the psychology of whistleblowing. For example:
- Many employers will emphasize loyalty to dissuade their employees from blowing the whistle publicly. They might even accuse employees who do blow the whistle of being disloyal in an attempt to paint them in a bad light.
- Meanwhile, others might say that whistleblowers exhibit a considerable amount of loyalty to both a company and its consumers. These arguments say that whistleblowers care enough about the company to right wrongs and help the company persevere.
- Whistleblowers themselves might also worry about the concept of loyalty when they are considering taking their complaints to the public.
Forbes finds loyalty is playing less of a role for whistleblowers nowadays
A recent Forbes article analyzed how current employees factor in the concept of loyalty when they blow the whistle publicly. The article determined that loyalty might not impact whistleblowers today as much as it has in the past, which in turn is leading to more public whistleblowing.
- Contract workers or gig employees do not feel the same level of loyalty as full-time workers might, which makes them more likely to report any wrongdoings or issues they witness;
- The younger generation of workers also does not feel as much loyalty to their workplaces. They are more inclined to place their individual values higher than the company’s values;
- Advancements in technology have blurred the boundaries of privacy, and therefore the boundaries between internal or external issues; and
- Technology also makes it easier for employees to air their grievances publicly. It is often less intimidating for employees as well.
These trends provide significant insight into how whistleblowing has changed, as well as how it could change, especially as we begin a new decade.