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Whistleblowers: Broken Lives and Organizational Power Paperback – January 10, 2002
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"From interviews and support groups for whistleblowers, Alford learned that such support is sorely needed because society does not truly value ethical resisters."―Book News, November 2001
"When I fortuitously received my review copy of this book the day before my Employment Law class was to consider the subject of whistleblowers, I expected to gain a few new insights that would deepen the class discussion. While this was true, it is wholly inadequate to describe the value of this extraordinary book. . . . Whistleblowers is a powerful philosophical examination that changes how one looks at the most fundamental institutions of our society."―Ellen Dannin, California Western School of Law. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, April 2002, Vol. 55, No. 3
"Alford has written an imaginative, provocative,and occasionally frustrating book. . . . The list of whistleblower contributions to public safety and integrity is long. Alford alludes to little of this. These omissions, while notable, do not undermine the value of Alford's critique of organizational practices to smother dissent or his account of the high price paid by ethical employees and their families. Alford's exposure of the misuse of organizational power stands as a worthy challenge to theories of organizational democracy, and this is one of his main goals."―Myron Peretz Glazer, Smith College. Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 31, No. 4
"Alford is concerned with why whistleblowers choose to go public and challenge their organizations, but he is also interested in what they have learned from their experiences. He is fascinated by the costs incurred by the 'autonomous individual' who confronts the organization, an entity that Alford says demands obedience, conformity, and loyalty. Instead of noble causes and vindication, Alford finds individuals who become isolated from co-workers, friends, and even family and who often admit that they would not repeat their actions if they had to do it over again."―David Rouse. Booklist, April 2001
"Alford draws on a wide range of sources, from the stories of whistleblowers themselves to the writings of Max Weber, George Orwell, Emile Durkheim, Hannah Arendt, Michael Foucault, and others. He believes that the organization is dedicated to the destruction of the individual. The whistleblower is a politicized actor in a nonpolitical world, where feudal chiefs clash and loyalty is not to the organization or to the wider society, but only to one's boss."―Charles Willett, Counterpoise, Vol. 7. No. 1, Oct '03
"Alford's work must be considered mandatory reading for anyone serious about government, public service, business, ethics, or the professions. For those campaigning for ethics, Whistleblowers is discouraging, but for those who can overcome the 'dread,' it provides the impetus to begin the organizational discussion on whistleblowing."―Craig S. MacMillan, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Public Administration 46:2, Summer 2003
"While the existing literature on whistleblowers is useful, none of it is put in the context of social power and individual identity. Innovative and exciting, Whistleblowers will contribute importantly to our understanding of organizational control and dissent."―Frank Anechiarico, Hamilton College
"Whistleblowers offers an almost completely different account of its subject matter than is found in any of the existing literature. As such, it is a significant original contribution. It is also an unremittingly dark book that shows how organizations, at their best, are neutral and benign and at all other times, are malevolent destroyers of the moral individual."―Guy A. Adams, University of Missouri
"C. Fred Alford has put together a provocative and disturbing analysis of the lonely road of the whistleblower and the devastating societal and organizational consequences of speaking truths that governments and corporations want left unspoken. Whistleblowers raises fascinating and controversial questions about the few unlikely heroes in our midst and why their seemingly small acts of heroism make the rest of society so uncomfortable."―Kate Bronfenbrenner, winner of the Labor Party's first Karen Silkwood Award
About the Author
C. Fred Alford is Professor of Government and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Think No Evil: Korean Values in the Age of Globalization and What Evil Means to Us, both from Cornell, as well asTrauma, Culture, and PTSD,Trauma and Forgiveness: Consequences and Community, and many other books.
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This should be read by anyone considering whistleblowing, and perhaps mandatory reading in all college classes. Certainly, anyone with a job in a corporation.
I found it to be one of the most thought provoking books I have read in a while. I just wish that the author, a Professor, had continued work in this area.
A book on how to protect the whistleblower is needed.
"Moral rebels are resented wehn their implicit reproach threatens the positive self image of individuals who did not rebel." Benoid Monin.
however the author seemed to run out of material after about half way through, and kept going on. the entire class agreed and the teacher (Ethics in the Public Sector course) said next time he assigned it he would only require the students to read half of it.
long story short - if you decide to blow the whistle, you must only do it to save lives. However in the end it will cost you yours.
I just saved you a horrible read.