An Epidemic of Whistle Blowing?

October 22, 2021

Are organizations prepared for an epidemic of whistle blowing?

This question struck me as I read “How One Facebook Worker Unfriended the Giant Social Network.” Here’s the statement in the article which caught my attention:

“There has just been a general awakening amongst workers at the tech companies asking, `What am I doing here?’” said Jonas Kron of Trillium Investment Management, which has pushed Google to increase protection for employees who raise the alarm about corporate misdeeds. “When you have hundreds of thousands of people asking that question, it’s inevitable you’ll get more whistleblowing,” he said.

The comment touched upon two issues which I don’t think have been resolved.

The first is the “awakening.” The idea that workers are “woke” is interesting. My reaction is that the flood of information about social unraveling, breakdowns in what were supposed to be reliable services, and the waves of disturbing news have broken down the “I’m entitled” Drosophila in these folks’ brains. Woke is not a good word. I think something along the lines “I understand now” is more accurate.

The second is the statement that a particular individual who allegedly “has pushed Google to increase protection for employees who raise the alarm about corporate misdeeds.” Okay, that’s interesting. How is that working out for those of the Timnit Gebru ilk?

Net net: Whistle blowers can present different reasons for their actions. The write up makes clear that the “cult of me” is alive and well. Some “me’s” are into dumping documents and information which are confidential. These actions take place even though the person has signed an agreement to keep an organization’s data secret. Guess that piece of paper is not working too well, right? Plus, an investment professional urging the Google to alter its DNA is a helpful endorsement of an individual’s valiant effort to induce change and get some good vibes for the action. Whistle blowing may be little more than an extension of an individual’s need to be the nail that sticks up.

Stephen E Arnold, October 22, 2021

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