“Representatives of the outside are on the inside. Traitors in our midst.”
“Whistleblowing…is another tactic for spreading disunity and creating conflict.”
—Former President, General Motors (GM)
“The preferred solution: total control of the internal environment to combat threat from the external environment. Most threatening of all…is the thought that the proprietary organization isn’t really private.”
How can privacy be expected when one’s job is to provide a service to people—who most of the times are paying for the service? Who are expecting quality, reliability, and even safety in return for their hard-earned money?
We’ve seen it in DC. We’ve seen it in Flint. And although many of us may not have seen it—it happened with B. F. Goodrich. A “subordinate” was fired after reporting to the FBI that the brake intended for the air force was not accompanied with appropriate test results, while his supervisors were promoted. It appears the organizational paranoia has no consideration for the fact that often time whistleblowers’ first action is to keep the matter private, likely to avoid disunity or conflict.
Fred Alford explores the concept of feudalism in an organization as being the perception of the whistleblower looking from the bottom up. In case you can’t entirely remember your time learning about medieval Europe—feudalism was a social system that is essentially based on hierarchy of power in which a lower class provide services for the class above its own in return for a service.
Alford says that feudalism is marked by power being a private possession. One is not expected to work for or represent the organization as a whole, but rather a workers’ decisions are often times made solely on a private relationship with the boss compromised by the power dynamic, despite one’s own moral compass. These private relationships allow for those “up top” to claim that they knew nothing about a given incident, once the whistleblower goes public.