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Study Indicates Secondhand Whistleblower Reports Have Significant Value

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review contained an overview of research that found that more whistleblowers means more value to whistleblower programs, even when those whistleblowers are reporting secondhand information or small amounts of information.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the main findings of the study.

  • Researchers determined a company that has an environment in which employees feel safe reporting any potential misconduct to their supervisors means there is a stronger corporate culture. The more employees feel trusted and valued in their feedback, the more transparent the company will be and the less it’s likely there will be retaliation or intimidation.
  • Secondhand reports were actually more likely than firsthand reports to uncover major companywide problems. While firsthand reports focused on self-serving, minor issues, secondhand reports generally lead to information that would help prevent litigation and fines, making them more valuable to employers.
  • Complaints that had only a few details about wrongdoing are often overlooked, but are extremely useful in investigations. In fact, some employees only provide minimal levels of detail at first just to see if they can trust the person to whom they are reporting. Once that trust is established, the whistleblower will often provide more information.

Ultimately, this information reveals once again the importance of establishing a system in which whistleblowers can confidently and confidentially report their information internally. The more an organization sets itself up to have a high level of transparency and a strong culture of protecting whistleblowers and encouraging them to come forward, the stronger the organization will be and the less likely there is to be internal misconduct to worry about.

For more information about internal whistleblower investigations, we encourage you to contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.

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In his new book, "Standing Up to China: How a Whistleblower Risked Everything for His Country," former client & Author, Ashley Yablon, quotes Attorney Steve Kardell about Whistelblower Law.
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