The quote below is from an article, “The sinister treatment of dissent at the BBC”, written by Nick Cohen and published in The Guardian. To me, it is a perfect description of the threat that senior people in organisations feel from whistleblowers who go public. It’s perfectly obvious in Ireland at the moment that whistleblowers are not seen as people out to do something good for an organisation. Instead, given some recent incidents here, management will mainly see whistleblowers as solely focused on trying to do something to slight management themselves.
But they’re missing the point – they see it as a personal slight because they KNOW that they probably already had the opportunity to do something, but most likely (given everything will have gone public) chose not to.
If whistleblowers are doing their job properly, they’ll already have raised their concerns to that same management. For the concerns to go public, it’s more than likely that management will have spurned the opportunity to do anything constructive or positive to address the concerns.
So, what starts as regular employees, inconveniently for whatever reason to management, doing their job and speaking up and highlighting when something is going wrong, eventually becomes a personal slight on management in charge when that employee doesn’t just stay in their cubicle when ignored / sidelined / silenced / fobbed off first time around.
In the banks, the NHS, the police or the BBC, the greatest threats to those in charge, however, are not threats to the institution but threats to their status. If subordinates can contradict them, how can they justify their salaries and the prestige that goes with them?