Summary of How Whistle-Blowers Shape History

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Whether you view them as snitches or heroes, whistle-blowers play an important role in exposing illicit corporate practices. In a passionate presentation, fraud researcher Kelly Richmond Pope challenges you to ponder how you would react if you witnessed illegal or unethical behavior in the workplace. Her case studies of employees who courageously and selflessly put their careers at risk to out wrongdoers will inspire you to do the right thing.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why whistle-blowers have a bad rap and
  • What function whistle-blowers serve in keeping organizations honest. 
 

About the Speaker

Kelly Richmond Pope is an associate professor in the School of Accountancy and MIS at DePaul University. 

 

Summary

A survey found that 46% of employees have witnessed unethical behavior in the workplace that they failed to report. Yet without whistle-blowers, most fraud cases – including high-profile cases such as the Enron, Watergate and Bernie Madoff scandals – would remain undetected. Whistle-blowing tends to gets a bad rap. Individuals who report wrongdoing often face labels such as “rat, tattletale” or “traitor,” and their loyalty and motives come under scrutiny. Meanwhile, whistle-blowers fear retaliation and social ostracism – and with good reason. As the Wells Fargo account fraud scandal was unfolding, for example, bank employees who tried to report the fraud lost their jobs. Yet the law criminalizes failure to report a crime, thus putting employee witnesses in a catch-22 situation.


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