Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our ten point process for protecting yourself from retaliation

Whistleblowers are crucified. In every country.   An Australian researcher notes:  “Consistent case …evidence indicates that whistleblowing, even when acknowledged to be meritorious, typically results in victimisation of whistleblowers” (Peter Jubb .JBE, 21). C. Fred Alford,in a US study  Whistleblowers: Broken Lives and Organizational Power paints an even more horrendous picture of the damage suffered by whistleblowers

This page outlines our suggestions on approaches to minimising the damage you could suffer if you expose a wrongdoing in your organisation without first carefully thinking through how you prevent damage to yourself

1. Determine what protection you have in the legislation

There is no effective protection for Commonwealth employees. Current public sector legislation covers only employees in state government service. For your state legislation see whistleblowing legislation in Australia

In the private sector, whistleblowing is protected only for offences against the Corporations Act or the Workplace Relations Act. See Private sector coverage. Contact one of the independent hotlines listed elsewhere on this site and determine if theywill forward yor complaint


2. For State Government employees, read the State Act that covers you.

Particularly note those provisions that provide you with protection from retribution. Also note what you can reveal, and to whom it can be revealed. It varies from state to state. Finally, make sure that what you are considering revealing is sufficiently in the public interest and serious enough to warrant the difficulties that it will cause you and the authorities who will investigate it.

3. See if you can find others in your organisation who are willing to support your evidence

and go along with you to any meetings you may attend relating to the matter.

4. Talk your intentions over with you family and close friends.

Listen to the advice you  receive, Work out a strategy that you believe will win 

5. Gather as much evidence as you can of the dishonesty that you intend to reveal.

Take notes; make photocopies. Remember that the person or organisation to which you make the revelations, or the Ombudsman’s office, will need to investigate your complaint. To convince them to take you seriously requires you to present them reasonable and as far as possible, independently supported evidence. State acts will protect you if you collect evidence that is internal to the organisation. They will also protect you against the breaking of confidentiality clauses in employment agreements.

6 . Seek independent advice

Contact us to discuss your situation.
Go to any  support body in your state and talk your actions over with them.
See our page containing links to external independent whistleblower services
See if someone can find the time to come with you as a support person and a witness. Make sure they know the act too.

7. For small cases, see if you can expose the wrongdoing without confrontation.

Go the highest person organisationally that you will feel comfortable with and who you believe will work in the interests of the organisation. Some organisations appoint a whistleblower contact for making your complaint. For high level large scale illegal behaviour, go outside the organisation, to the ombudsman or corruption authority if you are able. Ask that your name be kept confidential if you wish it . Note that the legislation will not guarantee complete confidentiality, for investigating the complaint may reveal who made it, but you can request confidentiality during the early stages of the investigation. Place the emphasis of your disclosures on the wrongdoing in the organisation, not on any harassment or ill-treatment that you have received.

8. Be prepared for rejection and retaliation from within your organisation.

It will be very unusual if it does not come. Senior managers will resent the implication that they have been ineffective, some of them may even be involved in the wrong doing; and colleagues will resent you as a threat to the security of the organisation. If the harassment continues, record all details and threaten legal action. If necessary, sue. Most state acts give you the right to do so. Or seek a new job. Early consideration of this possible need will probably be in your best interests.

The retaliation is often nasty, subtle, difficult to combat and not obviously tied to the whistleblowing.

9. Keep notes

Document every act of harassment that is taken against you even if it does not appear to be connected with your whistleblowing. As far as possible try to anticipate the harassment. It could come from an unexpected quarter.

10. If the harassment continues,

Determine what other relief your act offers you (relocation for instance). Complain to a higher level if possible, but in the final analysis, seek legal advice and take action for damages. If you complain about harassment, place your emphasis on the public interest disclosure; any harassment or ill-will is a result of that disclosure. Also follow up on the investigation of your complaint, as most jurisdictions are obliged to tell you what is the outcome.

And finally, if you do not win, if the wrongdoing is covered over, and no action is taken, try not to allow any sense of injustice to dominate your life. Remember that you have had a personal moral victory in making the disclosure. Attempt, as far as is possible, to recreate a new life and a new job.

The mistreatment of whistleblowers

Whistleblowers are still in danger, veteran journalist Laurie Oakes tells us in a keynote address at a recent press freedom dinner.  He is the latest in a long line of observers who point out the damage faced by people who try to bring wrongdoing by their organisations out into the open.
The retribution that whistleblowers face is widely documented.  C. Fred Alford and Roberta Johnson give many examples in their studies on whistleblowing. It would also be the conclusion of every member of the National Committee of Whistleblowers Australia (WBA). It is certainly the opinion of this observer after many years of working closely with whistleblowers.

The finding of a recent study, Whistleblowing in the Australian Public Sector that “only 22%” are mistreated is a misleading figure. The result is due to the structure of the study, and in particular, to the framing of the questions that were used.  The mistreatment figure was revised upwards to 30% of whistleblowers when the definition was changed to exclude people who were classifying personal grievances   as whistleblowing, but this redefinition still missed the point.  Those who suffer mistreatment are those who report a wrongdoing that is against the public interest. Such wrongdoings bring public disapproval on the organisation or on a senior officer. The retaliation rate then would appear to be much higher.

Companies, and public sector agencies, hire “hotline” whistleblowing companies to which employees can report wrongs. They are extremely successful in stopping fraud against the company or agency, with many studies from the big auditing companies confirming  their success. Price Waterhouse Cooper’s 2007 survey on economic crime, for instance, based on interviews in over 5,400 companies located in 40 countries, found that whistleblowers reported 43% of fraud identified in companies. It might not be fraud by the company; it could be an officer on the same level reporting, say, misuse of an office computer for personal use, even viewing pornography.  Or the private use of the company’s vehicles.

Companies do not retaliate against these employees – they thank them. They even reward them. The Australian public sector study however, does not distinguish between this type of whistleblowing and that of people reporting wrongdoing by senior staff of the organisation for company or agency benefit.

The public sector study was huge, and a major and valuable addition to knowledge on whistleblower practices. Eight surveys across the public sector, the largest of which sent out 23,177 questionnaires, to which 7663 public servants from 118 agencies responded. The contributors to the research were from fourteen state and the federal government ombudsman and anti-corruption agencies, along with five universities, lead by Griffith University.

Respondents to the large survey were asked whether they had observed in the last two years one or more of some 39 different wrongdoings. They were then asked to select one activity that they felt had been the most serious.

They were then asked if they had formally reported that activity to any individual or group and to whom. They chose from a list that included unions, a peer support officer, a counselling service or others who could possibly effect action.

Finally the respondent was asked if whether he/she was treated badly by management or co-workers. It was this question that showed “only 22%” was mistreated.

There area number of additional  reasons why the retribution rate will be higher for whistleblowers reporting an organisational wrongdoing that is against the public interest than it will be for the reporting of fraud or other wrongs against the company

1. The 39 wrongdoings included six Personnel and Workplace Grievances — racial discrimination, harmful working conditions, unfair dismissal, incorrect staff selection procedures, favouritism and bullying. These last two had the second and third highest reported rate of the 39 categories (p. 29). Bullying as a percentage of public employee wrongdoings that were reported is very high (30%). The six together add to over 85% of reports (p. 29). These results confirm the findings of members of Whistleblowers Australia (WBA) who receive many personal grievances each year, often described as whistleblowing. The complainants are very unhappy people, and do receive help from WBA.  But they are not whistleblowers in the sense that whistleblowing concerns issues of public concern.  More importantly, it is likely that a person reporting bullying, through any of the several conduits noted in the questionnaire, would not experience retaliation.  Imagine you are a union official who receives a complaint about bullying. How are you going to retaliate?

2. When personal grievances are excluded from the results the mistreatment percentage rises - to near 30%. However the six personal grievances are not the only personal complaints that employees make against a senior officer when complaining to WBA. Covering up poor performance is an additional complaint often stated by employees. .It has also an equally high reporting rate at 29.6%.”Acting against policy” or “Incompetent or negligent decision making” are others. They could be genuine but are also symptomatic of an employee who is unhappy with a senior officer, or with his/her employing organisation. If these complaints were separated out, the mistreatment rate would go even higher. In any case, if a staff member complains of these activities to a counselling officer, the counselling officer is unlikely to mistreat the complainant. Or even acquiesce to mistreatment.

3. 41% of respondents reported wrong doing “at or below my level”. ” (p. 66). Such reporting is unlikely to attract retaliation. It is extremely difficult for a person to mistreat a whistleblower who is at a higher organisational level. The whistleblower in any case is arguably not a whistleblower but a manager doing his/her duty. The manager may not even be in a direct line above the wrongdoer. Such a case may arise through the informal social networks that exist in large organisations enabling a more senior officer  to learn of a wrongdoing elsewhere in the organisation. They could then report it upwards

4 Case handlers and managers have responded that 48% of employees who report wrongdoing “often or always” experience problems (emotional, social, physical, or financial) and a further 42% state that it is “sometimes” the case (p.83).  These problems are not neces­sarily mistreatment or retribution, but it is difficult to see how these types of prob­lems could arise, if the whistleblower is treated “well or the same” by co-workers or management. Case handlers and managers involved in a whistleblowing incident would likely see the true picture behind whistleblowing for it is their task to manage such incidents. They would have no reason to exagger­ate their responses. The findings that 48% to 90% of whistleblowers experience problems, as observed by people with some formal responsibility for whistleblowing, suggests that the mistreatment of genuine public interest whistleblowers is much higher than the 22 -30% that have been stated .

5. Some whistleblowers have changed jobs shortly after their whistleblowing experiences and are therefore unlikely to experience retribution. They may have even left the service and not responded to the questionnaire.  The impact of leaving the service on questionnaire responses will be small, however, as resignation rates are low.

The wrongdoings listed are the same for every organisation that was surveyed. As simple observation tells us however, that virtually all disciplines and professions have additional sector specific wrongs. Educational institutions have plagiarism, research institutions produce bogus findings, hospitals face   a massive number or bio-ethical issues, public enterprises encounter the same range of marketing, advertising, and financial wrongs that are seen in the private sector. An employee that had experienced one of these wrongs may have responded to the questionnaire under a general heading – acting against policy for instance, or wasting funds. But we do not know how a person describing him/herself as observing a sector specific wrong, would have answered the question. This uncertainty  throws some further doubt on the results.

Three other factors could have influenced the responses to the questionnaire, and which raise additional questions regarding   the findings that were reached.

The survey covered all types of public sector agencies. The Commonwealth has virtually no whistleblower protection, however, so it is possible that the nature of whistleblowing and therefore of retaliation is different in the Commonwealth. People tend to blow the whistle only in areas where they fell relatively safe.

The report does not correlate the wrongdoing with the impact on the reputation of senior officials or the organisation itself.     Again drawing on WBA experience, if the whistleblowing accuses a senior official, or the whole organisation of a wrongdoing, the retaliation and efforts to cover up are very high

The report does not show the percentages of respondents from different agency groups. It is again WBA experience that whistleblowing issues arise more frequently in certain types of organisations – universities and other teaching institutes, police enforcement authorities, child welfare agencies for instance.  It would have helped to know if the proportion of these institutions in the sample were representative. If they were, the  conclusion could be drawn that the findings are representative. Otherwise there is doubt.

The conclusion can be drawn from the above arguments that the reported figure near 30% of whistleblowers who experience mistreatment is almost certainly understated. If we combine those who are not of public interest with those who reported themselves as whistleblowers when they were not, and unlikely to be retaliated against then, there is a much larger number of genuine public interest whistleblowers who did experience retaliation. Depending on the assumptions this retaliation figure may be as high as 60 - 80%.


This article originally appeared in The Whistle, a journal reporting on whistleblowing issues, in Australia and internationally,  

The Commonwealth Treasury recently undertook a review of protections that are available to whistleblowers in the private sector.  Peter Bennett, President of Whistleblowers Australia provided a submission, as did Peter Bowden, Education Officer and President of the NSW Branch. They also attended the subsequent round tables hosted by the Treasury throughout Australia. This article, a shortened version of a longer review that is to appear in the Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics, outlines the conclusions of that review,

The protection of whistleblowers in the private sector is outlined in the Corporations Act 2001, extended in 2004. It is the only significant attempt in Australia to prevent retaliation against whistleblowers in business.  The Act is administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).The examination of its effectiveness was initiated by the Australian Treasury on the grounds that the 2004 whistleblower clauses have not been effective. A second reason behind the Treasury examination is to seek further responses to the ethical problems that arose during the recent Global Financial Crisis.

Treasury announced the inquiry in October 2009. Submissions were requested by December that year. Twenty two submissions were received with 20 cleared for public release. Each submission was asked to respond to nine questions posed by the Treasury on optional ways to strengthen whistleblower protection. The nine questions and their responses did indicate ASIC had not been particularly active in managing the program. They also suggest that Treasury had a relatively narrow view of the extent of the reforms that might be necessary.  The majority of respondents, including the two WBA submissions, saw the issue of corporate wrongdoing to be much wider than the concerns raised by Treasury, and argued for a much expanded whistleblower protection program.

Responses came from three academics researching in this area, two of the larger Australian banks, nine professional associations, including WBA, three companies providing whistleblowing services, one finance company and one law firm. Both of the last two had been involved in whistleblowing issues.  Telstra also provided a submission. The nine questions posed by the Commonwealth Treasury, together with the dominant responses, are outlined in the following paragraphs

A.     Who can blow the whistle?

Existing legislation is currently restricted to employees and contractors. The majority of responses supported the option to extend the legislation to all members of the public on the basis that any person who came into contact with the organisation could identify possible wrongdoing, and that wrongdoing would need to be investigated.  A supplier, for instance, could identify a dishonest buyer who would be a cause behind price increases and therefore acting against the public interest.

B.    Should a subsidiary be covered?

The universal answer to this question was yes

C.    What issues can be disclosed that earn protection?

This issue generated great differences of opinion. The Treasury discussion paper noted the anomalies in the current legislation, suggesting that there was “a clear need for the scope of protections to be expanded”.

Legislative responses in the UK and US were outlined in the Treasury options paper. These practices are much wider than in Australia. In Britain, the Public Interest Disclosures Act, 1998, qualifying disclosures include any criminal offence, failure to comply with any legal obligation, miscarriage of justice and dangers to health, safety or the environment. In the US, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act confines itself to financial disclosures, but close to twenty other interlinked pieces of legislation widen the extent of whistleblower protections in the US.

The need to stop a wide range of corporate wrongs is certainly more pressing than the options offered by Treasury, and possibly wider than ASIC’s legislated and administrative ability to handle.

D. Motives of the whistleblower?

The question of the whistleblower’s motive has long been an issue in whistleblowing legislation. Good faith goes to the genuineness of the belief in the information being disclosed. Motive goes to the reasons for making the disclosure, but the two terms are often confused, with good faith taken to imply that the whistleblower should be driven by “pure“ motives  The majority of respondents opted for the revealing of wrongdoing being the primary issue – that the  motives of the discloser were immaterial.

E. Anonymity?
Should whistleblowers be able to hide their identity, or should they be required to reveal themselves before their claims will be investigated? The current act requires the whistleblower to reveal their identity. The majority of respondents preferred the anonymity option despite the limitations that it carried with it.

F. Court orders exposing identity?
The issue is whether a court could order the revealing of a whistleblower’s identity but that it first had to consider the impact of this order. Behind this issue is the concern that whistleblowers will be discouraged from coming forward if they believe that their identity may be revealed by a court order. The alternative (Option F2) was that a court cannot reveal identity unless the party wanting the information can establish that the release outweighs the public interest of keeping identity documents confidential. The preponderance of responses was that the F2 option was preferred. Successive legal appeals have confirmed that courts currently will not release identity information.

G. Second-hand whistleblowing to be confidential?

A whistleblower reveals information to an official body, information that may need to be passed on to a third party for investigative purposes. The question at issue here is whether that third party should also be bound to keep the information confidential, as well as the whistleblower’s identity or any information that is likely to lead to identifying the whistleblower. The universal response to this option was that the third party must also meet confidentiality requirements.

H. Should whistleblowers be protected if seeking legal advice?

The overwhelming response was affirmation of the option that whistleblowers should be protected if they seek legal advice. One dominant reason is the incomprehensibility of the Corporations Act to most people. “Unlovely and Unloved” is a description of the Act provided by the Associate Professor of Law at Melbourne (Cally Jordan). Potential whistleblowers would need legal advice to determine whether a particular issue was covered by the legislation and also to know whether they would be protected.

I. Internal whistleblowing

This question referred to internal whistleblowing systems, including commercial services such as Stopline, Deloitte’s and Your Call, asking whether the legislative protections helped encourage whistleblowers. No options were provided. The responses, from those who answered, were primarily negative - the legislation is ineffective. 

It should be noted that the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act mandates that an internal whistleblowing system be established. 

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) made a submission to the effect that the few uses that have been made of the whistleblower provisions “is not an indication that the current provisions have failed”. The Institute’s reasons behind this statement were that the low application of the whistleblower provisions “may suggest that serious corporate wrongdoing has not occurred” in Australia, or “that internal… procedures are working effectively”.  The contrasting opinion in the Treasury options paper, however, and in many of the responses, referred to a number of corporate wrongdoings that had taken place in Australia in recent years, including several that had not reached media headlines. Treasury itself also indicated that the provisions of the Act were ineffectual.

 Issues raised by respondents, additional to Treasury

The 20 submissions raised  five issues beyond  the options raised by Treasury. Each deserves further consideration in any scheme that is eventually developed for managing private sector whistleblowing:  

·        Managing vexatious “whistleblowers”
·        Wrongdoings that should be protected
·        Location and role of responsible agency
·        A full set of protections for whistleblowers
·        A False Claims Act

Managing vexatious or fraudulent “whistleblowers”

A number of submissions raised the problem that people with a grudge against their company, or against their supervisor, could raise false allegations that could cause problems and additional expense in resolving them

The concern is entirely reasonable. Readers will be aware of the extensive literature on people who cause difficulties in organisations (e. g. Cava, 2004; Bernstein, 2001; Brinkman and Kirschner, 1994). Several submissions and the discussions in the subsequent round tables, however, provided answers for these concerns. One of the strongest was made by Whistleblowers Australia (WBA), the President of which stated that of those who come to WBA for assistance, some 60% were motivated by personal grievances, not by any public interest. The other WBA submission pointed out that the first line of inquiry, therefore, is determining whether the wrongdoing occurred or not. In most personal grievance cases, there is no public interest at work, and often no wrongdoing. There are also “whistleblowers” who disagree with the decisions of their organisations. That decision, however, may not be a wrongdoing that is against the public interest.

The immediate response to these concerns therefore is the need to question whether the wrongdoing is factual and against the public interest  All definitions of whistleblowing, including that implied by Treasury, involve a wrong – in this case a contravention of the Corporations Act. These paragraphs have argued for a widening of the concerns that a whistleblower can report, but in all cases it has argued that the accusation should be in the public interest and against the breaking of some existing law or code.

Wrongdoing reports that should be protected
The widening of private sector whistleblowing protections beyond the current limitations of the Corporations Act appears a necessary step. This widening, which would be beyond even damage to public health, safety, and the environment, raises further issues, however. The Treasury options paper points out that any extension using terms such as “misconduct” or “improper state of affairs” would be difficult for the general public to understand. An extension would also raise issues that ASIC would be unlikely to have the experience or background staff to investigate. Nevertheless, it is readily apparent that whistleblowers who have inside knowledge should be able to bring to public attention any wrongdoing that companies perpetrate, and be protected from reprisals for disclosing this information.

An extension of the wrongs that can be reported also raises issues in relation to whom they would be reported, who would investigate the issues and how they would protect the whistleblower. In short, the role of the agency responsible for whistleblowing issues in the private sector is also a question that has to be resolved. 

Location and role of responsible agency

Two of the submissions, both by academics, raised the issue that this question needed further research.

The need for further research was derived from three underlying concerns.  One is that an extension of the wrongs that whistleblowers can safely report is obvious. But this extension raises the issues of what concerns could they report, to whom they would report and who manages the investigation and protection processes. ASIC is not the body to which breaches of all Commonwealth Acts should be reported. It does not have the legislative support for undertaking wide ranging investigations nor would it appear to have the experience to investigate them.

ASIC acts through corporate law. The UK Act operates through employment law, with whistleblowers laying their concerns with their employer, or with designated regulatory bodies. If any negative action is taken against them, they appeal to an employment tribunal, and if their complaints are substantiated, compensation will be awarded through these tribunals. Under the US Sarbanes Oxley Act whistleblower complaints are filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the US Department of Labor.  OSHA, under its Office of Whistleblower Protection, also administers the whistleblowing provisions of the other statutes, protecting employees who report violations of various trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail, consumer product and securities laws. This office investigates, makes a decision and if necessary reinstates or compensates whistleblowers who have suffered retribution.

The US and UK practices suggest that employment law, and the regulatory employment agencies, would be a preferred option to ASIC as the responsible agency. However, the Australian Government, in its recent response to whistleblower protection in the public sector, announced that employment law would not be adopted. This was its answer to the recommendations of the House Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs investigating public sector whistleblowing protection.

The government’s decision is questionable.  The Workplace Ombudsman and associated agencies (Fair Work Australia from 2010) have a series of inspectors throughout the country who investigate breaches of the Fair Work Act. They have the ability to undertake investigations, and interact with and assist employees who report breaches of the existing labour legislation. This ability could extend to whistleblowers who report wider breaches of the law.   Research into the possibility of this option appears vital.

One submission also argued that the eventual designated agency had an educational role as well as an investigative and whistleblower support role. It also had a data gathering and analysis role in presenting information on the effectiveness of its administrative procedures and the associated legislation. ASIC has done a poor job in this respect, which may be a contributing reason for the ineffectiveness of the legislation. ASIC in fact had rejected FOI requests for information for use by researchers, consultants and companies themselves.  It only became public knowledge that the legislation had not been useful when this information was revealed in the Minister’s letter requesting submissions.

Protections for whistleblowers

The provisions in the current Act to protect whistleblowers are not extensive. The proposals from Treasury do not extend these protections significantly.  Each state in Australia has a whistleblower protection Act for its public sector, although none of them are regarded as highly effective. There are ten protections available in the states, although no state carries all ten. Only five of the possible ten protections are included in the Treasury options.


Five separate studies show whistleblowing is the most effective way of identifying wrongdoing in organisations. One of the more significant of these studies was undertaken for the Commonwealth public sector in Australia. This research demonstrated that senior managers and staff responsible for managing ethical behaviour in public agencies believe that whistleblowing is the most useful way to identify and stop wrongdoing. The research project comprised nine surveys across the public service, the largest of which sent out 23,177 questionnaires to public servants in 118 agencies, to which 7663 public servants responded. The research was organised by fourteen state and federal government ombudsman and anti-corruption agencies, along with five universities (Brown, AJ, 2008).

The conclusion of the Australian research is backed up by a number of surveys conducted by the big accounting companies. A  survey sent in 2006 to 2,146 of Australia’s and New Zealand’s largest public and private sector organisations by KPMG found that 43% of wrongdoing is reported by employees or related parties, as opposed to being identified by internal controls (38%) and audits (7%)  (KPMG, 2006).  Its 2008 survey, however, found that internal controls were more effective (KPMG, 2008). Both studies equate whistleblowing, including anonymous whistleblowing” with the detection of fraud. KPMG stated in its opening summary that it “believes anonymous reporting systems are crucial to the detection of fraud, particularly when whistleblowers are concerned about retribution should their identity become known”. This author agrees with the KPMG statement.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2009 survey on economic crime also found that whistleblowers were the highest source for identification of internal wrongdoing. Its 2009 survey, based on interviews in over 3,000 organisations in 54 countries, found that internal and external tip-offs identified 27% of fraud in organisations. With 7 % of the reporting coming from formal internal whistleblower systems, people willing to identify wrongdoing provided 34% of the total.   Internal audit provided 17%, and fraud risk management procedures 14%.  13% were discovered accidentally. Government enterprises were the most severely affected (PWC, 2009).

Researchers at the Chicago School of Business and the University of Toronto drew up a "top ten" list of the most active fraud detectors. The study analysed 230 cases of alleged corporate fraud in U.S companies between 1996 and 2004. Topping the list of fraud detectors were employees (Dyck, Morse and Zingales, 2007). Finally, the Certified Fraud Examiners Association of the US, in their 2004 and 2006 annual conferences, presented evidence that internal whistleblowers were the dominant source of exposing fraud (Durant, 2004; CFEA, 2006).

The term fraud encompasses fraud by senior staff acting to benefit the company, as well as by individual employees within it acting in their own interests. The former is wrongdoing that is against the public interest. The latter includes employees using company resources for their own benefit, for example, theft, false expenditure claims, etc.  The studies cited above include both types of wrongdoing. The Dyck reference, for example, was an examination of large US companies that included Enron and Tyco, both of which acted against the public good.  The PWC survey is also mainly focussed on fraud against the organisation, although it does include bribery as an example of fraud. Its 2007 report also discusses the benefits of internal whistleblowing systems.  The KPMG survey has a similar emphasis on fraud against the organisation, such as internal theft, although again it discusses wrongdoing, at various managerial levels, that is not in the public interest.

Whatever the type of wrongdoing, the results do indicate that a substantial number of people will expose dishonest actions in an organisation.

Bowden, Peter (2006).A comparative analysis of whistleblower protectionsAustralian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics, Vol 8, No.2.   
Brown A.J. (editor), (2008). Whistleblowing in the Australian Public Sector. Enhancing the Theory and Practice of Internal Witness Management in Public Sector Organisations, Australian National University E Press, Canberra.  Downloadable from
 CFEA. Certified Fraud Examiners Association. (2006). Report to the Nation on Occupational Fraud.
Dyck, Alexander, Morse, Adair and Zingales, Luigi; Who Blows the Whistle on Corporate Fraud ?, NBER working paper series  no. w12882. Cambridge, Mass. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2007.
KPMG (2006). Fraud Survey, 2006. Accessed 10 August, 2010
 KPMG (2008).  Fraud Survey, 2008.  Accessed 10 August, 2010.
 PWC Global economic crime survey 2009, Accessible at
 Taxpayers against fraud (2009)  Accessed, March 2010