Preventing and dealing with retaliation against whistleblowers
Chapter, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBjørkelo, Brita & Matthiesen, Stig Berge (2011). Preventing and dealing with retaliation against whistleblowers. I: Lewis, D. & Vandekerckhove, W (Red). Whistleblowing and democratic values. International Whistleblowing Research Network.
In this chapter we shown how whistleblowing has the potential to alert and stop detrimental activities that often harm a third party. We first outlined the background for our research before we explained the term retaliation and described some types of such behaviour. We then presented some of the most typical symptoms reported by employees that have reported wrongdoing at work and been exposed to retaliation and workplace bullying afterwards, before we delineated the link between whistleblowing, retaliation, workplace bullying and health. Studies have shown that there is a link between whistleblowing, retaliation and workplace bullying. Future studies should also investigate the link between health and later employment status. In the subsequent section we portrayed different ways in which to prevent and deal with retaliation against whistleblowers in practice. In individual, group or societal tertiary interventions, therapists and practitioners are encouraged to listen. Through listening, they can gain insight into how one can understand and be of help to employees that attempt or have tried to improve the situation for a third party without excluding the impact of the organisation or society in question.