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Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 104, Issue 2, pp 237–249 | Cite as

Dissenting Discourse: Exploring Alternatives to the Whistleblowing/Silence Dichotomy

  • Hayden Teo
  • Donella CasperszEmail author
Article

Abstract

In recent times, whistleblowing has become one of the most popularly debated issues of business ethics. Popular discussion has coincided with the institutionalisation of whistleblowing via legal and administrative practices, supported by the emergence of academic research in the field. However, the public practice and knowledge that has subsequently developed appears to construct a dichotomy of whistleblowing/silence; that is, an employee elects either to ‘blow the whistle’ on organisational wrongdoing, or remain silent. We argue that this public transcript of whistleblowing/silence overshadows the importance of continuing research into alternative (individual or collective) employee behaviour. Drawing on original research with a financial services organisation, our research uncovers a dissenting discourse that operates through implicit communication, such as codes, sarcasm and jokes. We suggest that this hidden transcript offers significant opportunities for employees to act ethically, and offers the potential to sustain an ethical organisational culture.

Keywords

Whistleblowing Dissent Ethical identity Discourse Foucault 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Allens Arthur RobinsonMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Business SchoolUniversity of Western AustraliaNedlandsAustralia

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