How to cultivate a whistleblowing culture

In 2017, Leo Martin commented in Ethical Corporation on how companies can encourage their employees to speak out about problems before they turn into crises

While the phrase forewarned is forearmed may make total sense on the battle field, it seems that the world of business is yet to properly cotton on.

According to the 2015 Ethics at Work survey by the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) roughly half (45%) of employees who notice misconduct would not raise concerns. Of those who spoke out, 61% said they were not happy with the outcome, more than double since the previous survey in 2012.

Logic should dictate that senior management has a vested interest in discovering a problem before it becomes a scandal. However, the continued fear of persecution, such as experienced by former Olympus chief executive Michael Woodford, and more recently the Barclays whistleblower whose identity the CEO attempted to uncover, would suggest that some management teams still perceive speaking out as an act of disloyalty rather than a chance to learn about, and deal, with any potentially damaging problems.

Our more recent blog on the importance of speak-up in an ethical workplace culture, explores this issue in more depth

Posted May 2017