Many companies in D.C. fear whistleblowers. They believe that with one word in the wrong ear, a whistleblower can take down an entire company that was previously thriving. While whistleblowers certainly may do this, a CNBC article says that they also help their companies to perform better. But how?
It really boils down to the level of priority a company places on integrity. If the priority is high, this should reflect in making proper channels available for employees to make illegal or unethical activities known. This may help companies to take action internally before any corporate scandal, lawsuit or external investigation by law enforcement occurs and decide on a strategy.
In the report cited by CNBC, studies of 8,500 companies over a 10-year period shows that whistleblowers helped to clean up the corporate culture and finances of a company. This, in turn, boosted a company’s profitability. Even so, many executives mishandle whistleblowing incidents and employees often fear retaliation from their employer, especially when they feel compelled to use external channels.
For private companies to follow, sometimes public government agencies must first set an example. D.C.’s Department of Human Resources upholds the rights to freedom of expression, communication with the Council of D.C. and humane work conditions. It also encourages public workers to disclose corruption. In fact, disclosure is perhaps more closely considered an obligation and responsibility than a right. As a result, the employees who report corruption, at least on paper, enjoy protection from retaliation.
If whistleblowing makes companies more profitable and run more efficiently, it is reasonable to conclude that government agencies may enjoy the same benefit. This may be as true of a public school as the public office of a politician. However, more research may be necessary to confirm this.