Encouraging Courage on the Job

G. Jeffrey MacDonald takes a look at whistleblower policies in business for the Christian Science Monitor:When courage is encouraged on the job: How workplaces can motivate employees to take a stand when trouble brews.

In business, the difference between a fixable mistake and an irreparable disaster sometimes hinges on whether employees dare to take a stand before habits of wrongdoing become ingrained.

In Whistle-blowing in Organizations Marcia P. Miceli, Terry Morehead Dworkin, and Janet Pollex Near looks at organizational behavior.They found that it is more important to empower your current workers to report wrong-doing than to hire heroes. They found that employees were more likely to become whistle-blowers when they knew where to go with allegations, knew their colleagues would support them and the would not have to confront their supervisor face-to-face.

According to Dr. Near: “they blow the whistle if: the wrongdoing they have observed is serious; they feel that telling somebody about it will actually make a difference, and they feel they’re going to get some support in the organization for doing that.”

Conversely, the enemy of workplace courage is the intense pressure to deliver short-term results. Business put workers in a workplace situation where they need to choose between doing what’s right and protecting their career when they focus on short-term results.