Whistleblowing: Toward a New Theory (Hardback)
  • Whistleblowing: Toward a New Theory (Hardback)

Whistleblowing: Toward a New Theory (Hardback)

Hardback 296 Pages
Published: 02/04/2019
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Society needs whistleblowers, yet to speak up and expose wrongdoing often results in professional and personal ruin. Kate Kenny draws on the stories of whistleblowers to explain why this is, and what must be done to protect those who have the courage to expose the truth.

Despite their substantial contribution to society, whistleblowers are considered martyrs more than heroes. When people expose serious wrongdoing in their organizations, they are often punished or ignored. Many end up isolated by colleagues, their professional careers destroyed. The financial industry, rife with scandals, is the focus of Kate Kenny’s penetrating global study. Introducing whistleblowers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Ireland working at companies like Wachovia, Halifax Bank of Scotland, and Countrywide–Bank of America, Whistleblowing suggests practices that would make it less perilous to hold the powerful to account and would leave us all better off.

Kenny interviewed the men and women who reported unethical and illegal conduct at major corporations in the run up to the 2008 financial crisis. Many were compliance officers working in influential organizations that claimed to follow the rules. Using the concept of affective recognition to explain how the norms at work powerfully influence our understandings of right and wrong, she reframes whistleblowing as a collective phenomenon, not just a personal choice but a vital public service.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674975798
Number of pages: 296
Dimensions: 235 x 156 mm


At its heart are the compelling stories of men and women who exposed wrongdoing in financial services companies, and the consequences they bore…Kenny paints a picture of a financial services industry where rules are gamed, ethics are not discussed, and employees fear retaliation if they speak out…Kenny concludes that we should view whistleblowing as a social act and take collective responsibility for what happens to those who expose wrongdoing. - Sue Lewis, Financial Adviser

Quietly authoritative yet still reasonably accessible. - Mark Paul, Irish Times

A devastating analysis of the ‘matrix of censorship’ which leads to whistleblowers being abused. This matrix could push us to the brink of another economic catastrophe. - Greg Wright, Yorkshire Post

This is a superb book that makes an excellent contribution to an important area of our thinking about, lives within, and work for organizations. It is destined to be a landmark volume in this field. - Mark Stein, University of Leicester

Kenny’s book on whistleblowing is a refreshing contribution to the field. Its insightful theoretical approach facilitates her analysis of whistleblowing in a variety of contexts within the financial services to provide qualitative revelations of how even when employed to ensure compliance with regulations, people of conscience are ostracized and often silenced. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned about our future. - David Knights, Lancaster University

Kenny has produced a uniquely positioned text of great insight as she weaves philosophical sophistication, especially the writing of Judith Butler, with precise analysis of whistleblowing. A must-read. - Alison Pullen, Macquarie University

This book provides an insightful study of whistleblowing and widespread corruption in the global financial industry that recent whistleblowers have brought to light. Additionally, it reveals the struggles that whistleblowing entails and develops the concept of ‘affective recognition’ to explain how these are bound up with retaliation against whistleblowers in their fight to be heard. - Iain Munro, Newcastle University

We live in societies in which organizations are powerful, and their employees are relatively powerless. In this important and beautifully written book, Kenny explains why this is a social issue of great importance. If we want societies that value justice, then speaking truth to power needs to be encouraged and protected by all of us. - Martin Parker, University of Bristol

The arrival of Kenny’s Whistleblowing is very timely given the growing recognition of the important role whistleblowers play in society. It makes a passionate plea for supporting courageous individuals whose disclosures have numerous times saved the public from harm, prevented major disasters, and revealed widespread forms of wrongdoing. The book takes a unique approach to explain what makes individuals who disclose wrongdoing continue their struggle for transparency despite all odds. Readers who seek interpretations extending beyond the villain–hero dichotomy will find this thoughtful and sophisticated analysis of whistleblowing truly rewarding. - Marianna Fotaki, coauthor of Gender and the Organization: Women at Work in the 21st Century

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