The Whistleblowing Challenge
‘Surely a company’s executives would want to know about unethical practices in the organization?’
This question can be asked until you are blue in the face.
Perhaps not knowing makes executives feel safer? Seriously, it’s the unknown that typically scares the pants of people.
Why mess with something when it’s running along tickety-boo?
This would seem to be the more common practice for many larger companies.
A recent post, VW: The Challenge of Whistleblowing, sheds light on what the author calls self-conscious righteousness that many larger companies exhibit.
Run by larger-than-life CEOs, speeding their companies towards world domination. Mowing down those who get in the way of their company’s success, only to fall from grace when all the proverbial muck hits the fan.
The VW deception continued until found out by accident, which is the case for many forms of misconduct.
Those participating in deception, fraud, and other misconduct, get so wrapped up in their success, it just becomes second nature to continue to operate business in this horrid manner.
It’s like a secret society within the walls of a company. Nobody outside the society knows what’s happening, or is allowed to participate in it unless they go through initiation, which undoubtedly involves proving your willingness to participate in similar misconduct to show your worth.
Or you’re afraid you’ll lose your job if you don’t keep up with the ‘norm’.
It’s either an accident that uncovers this quagmire of mess, or a very brave whistleblower that blows up the mess, only to find themselves suddenly unemployed due to an incident they supposedly participated in that under other circumstances would have been left under the rug.
There are would-be whistleblowers in all companies. And understandably, most are terrified to come forward for fear of the consequences.
We all want to believe we will and can speak out when observing misconduct. We want to believe our message will be received and acted upon. We want to believe in a fair and just world.
To understand why employees don’t come forward when they stumble upon misconduct, you first need to understand how employees perceive the culture, policies, and processes of the company they work for.
If a company historically overlooks misconduct and the outcomes that come from it, you begin to understand why an outsider would drop their jaws in shock at the activity happening, and why employees treat it as just a regular Tuesday in the office.
Speaking up on misconduct is one of the best, and for some the only, solution to shed light on those “secret societies” in the office who are conducting their jobs unethically.
A third-party hotline is a very robust solution for most companies in breaking down the walls that unethical employees and management have built.
And more companies are starting to understand the conditions that encourage and discourage whistleblowing so that they are better equipped to initiate a hotline as an avenue to mitigate corruption.
To be a whistleblower should not be a hard thing to be. To implement a third-party ethics reporting program should be a normal way to participate in the investment of a company’s development.
Get your free eBook now: benefits of a whistleblower hotline.