UCD Centre for Business and Society will welcome Dr Kate Kenny, Professor of Business and Society at NUI Galway’s School of Business and Economics and the Whitaker Institute, to discuss her research on the elements of successful whistleblower disclosures.
Whistleblowers’ disclosures are a crucial mechanism for safeguarding our democratic institutions, consumer rights and safety, at a time when organizational secrecy is on the rise and traditional modes of transparency wane. As such whistleblowers represent a critical aspect of resistance against organizational wrongdoing. We first learned about COVID-19 through healthcare professionals in China who tried to alert authorities about the new virus and were prevented from doing so. In Ireland, we have seen whistleblowers emerge in universities and the police service among other sectors. Help from external parties-- journalists, activists or politicians for example-- is critical for the success of a disclosure. But whistleblowers frequently struggle in the face of public ambivalence and a hostile, retaliatory organization. Effective support is elusive and attempts to secure it often end in failure. This aspect of the whistleblowing process remains under-researched in organization and management studies, and business ethics.
In this seminar, Professor Kate Kenny will present findings from recent qualitative research into whistleblowing disclosures. She will argue that that the success of a disclosure is contingent upon the enrolment of a whistleblower in an emergent, affective, network of support, and the embedding of their information about wrongdoing in a broader cause. Partners play a central role in sustaining the whistleblower and ensuring that the information they hold comes to light. The data analysis draws on political (Gramsci, Laclau and Mouffe) and psychosocial feminist theory (Benjamin, Butler).