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Author

Consequences of Whistleblowing

Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
Synopsis
Alford is sceptical of the heroic accounts in which the courageous employee brings a corrupt organisation to account, benefiting society and receiving society�s gratitude. Instead, he has a much darker, more pessimistic message. Nearly all whistleblowers are destroyed. They lose their jobs, their careers, their houses, their friends, their families. But that is not the worst part. Most catastrophically, whistleblowers lose their trust in people and justice.



Alford says that "The whistleblower is a political actor in a nonpolitical world." (p. 97). By this he means that the whistleblower acts on the basis of values within an organisation where values have no role. Within the organisation, the main rule is to do what the boss wants. Anyone who imports values into the organisation from the outside, such as public safety, fairness or honesty, is a threat to the line of command and must be expelled.



Alford tackles the issue of organisational power from several angles. In a chapter titled "Organized thoughtlessness," he diagnoses the bureaucratic organisation as a place where no one is supposed to think for themselves. This can be called the "rule of the living dead, those who no longer exist as actors [people with willpower] because they can no longer bear to think about what they are doing. More than a few whistleblowers talked about their bosses and co-workers as dead, or zombies. �Sometimes they just don�t seem human,� said one whistleblower of his co-workers. �I think people must kill a part of themselves to remain part of the system�." (p. 119).



In the final chapter, "The political theory of sacrifice," Alford gives another gloomy perspective on organisational power. He compares the expulsion and degradation of the whistleblower with ritual sacrifice, which is a way of cleansing a group by symbolically putting all its sins on to a single individual, the scapegoat. Alford uses this idea, but with a twist. He says that sacrifice of the whistleblower "serves to rechannel destructive individual morality that might result in the breakdown of organizational control and hierarchy. Sacrifice is mobilized against thought in the name of organizational autarky [self-sufficiency]" (p. 128). The organisation is a transgressor, but that is accepted. It is the moral employee who is a threat to the organisation and who must be seen to be destroyed.


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So many humans, so little humanity.
[ May 01, 2004: Message edited by: Rufus BugleWeed ]
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
If you're going to expose high-level wrongdoings in a company, be prepared to leave that company.
In other words, have another job ready to start or have enough cash stashed away to survive an extended period unemployed.
After all, would you even WANT to remain associated with that company, knowing how they operate?


42
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
Your senario takes a lot of things coming together all at the same time. You're still burning all those bridges too. After all, it is networking that gets you a job when you need one.
Somebody has this theory that after one acquires the basic material goods in life, ones needs change to things like values. I believe these non-material goals are in direct opposition to organized thoughtlessness. And so another piece in my puzzle, why age dicrimination, falls into place.
As the other poster noted, it is because the young, often the less well financially endowed, are willing or naive enough to look the other way.
It should also be noted that the Korean car company surpassed US and european car companies in initial quality and very likely reliability. It's quite apropos that Oldsmodile rolled its last Alero off the line in the same week. US culture has suffered another loss to Asian culture. Asian culture values creating a quality product. In US culture this value, has no role.
People who push for quality in US culture are a form of whistleblower. I'm not sure what the base class should be called, nonconformist.
Please explain to me why these theories are bunk. I'm not starting a blog either, TP.
Growing up it all seems so one-sided
Opinions all provided
The future pre-decided
Detached and subdivided
In the mass production zone
Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone
...
be cool or be cast out

[ May 02, 2004: Message edited by: Rufus BugleWeed ]
 
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