Enhancing willingness to whistleblow internally: The role of leaders and work culture
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Whistleblowing research shows that leaders play an essential role in steering ethical behaviour and work culture. This thesis investigates the factors that enhance employee willingness to internal speak up and how leadership can support this effort. Existing literature focuses on whistleblowing processes, internal speak up arrangements, whistleblower identity, recognition, the role of advocacy groups, and whistleblowing retaliation. In contrast, this thesis examines the pre-speak up organisational landscape by exploring how willingness to internal speak up can be nurtured and what role leaders play to facilitate this effort. To do so, I analysed an in-depth qualitative case study that includes interviews, document analysis, and field notes from observations in the production facility of a high-tech multinational organisation in the U.K. Exploring key organisational aspects and their cross-fertilisation, I found that when employees feel supported by their leadership, and when they are provided with a range of internal communication avenues embedded in the normal work-design, this may activate voice friendly culture. I also found that the presence of an ethic centric work environment and strong leader-follower attachment may enhance willingness to whistleblow internally. Answers to the research questions are offered through proposing a multi-layer conceptual, theoretical framework of Culture of Ethics and Internal Speak Up to provide a safe voicing space. The thesis concludes with recommendations on how this can be applied to future research.