WHISTLEBLOWING SPECIES ARE FAST DEPLETING

The loyalty landscape is enigmatic. Loyalty needs faithfulness and willingness to make sacrifices. Loyalty - families expect it, organizations demand it, friends respect it, countries foster it. The requirements of becoming a loyalist include the willing sacrifice of self-interest in the interest of the group and steadfast dedication in the face of temptation. Giving something without expecting something in return, or risking life to save others is not easy. Loyalty has a dual nature. It is essential as well as fallible. It requires complaisance as well as servility. It is virtuous, vice as well. Loyalty to the self is important. Balancing loyalty to the self and to others is not easy. Loyalty is often blind. Sometimes loyalty wins, sometimes it loses. Not all loyalties merit our allegiance. As the saying goes, “When an organization wants you to do right, it asks for your integrity; when it wants you to do wrong, it demands your loyalty.” Can we be loyal to all? We know that a friend to all is a friend to none. Being good to all is not possible. By the same logic, one cannot be loyal to all. There is a size limit to loyalty. Robin Dunbar says that our brains only allow us to get to know about 150 people particularly well. There is a thin line between loyalty and disloyalty. We are well adapted to break this thin line at the slightest temptation. We hardly remember who has been good to us, but it is hard to forget who has been bad to us. Evolutionarily speaking, loyalty compared to disloyalty seems more profitable. Whistleblowers are generally seen as disloyal, though whistleblowing doesn’t disqualify one to be a loyalist. Whistleblowers are not afraid to raise alarm once they see corruption, fraud, waste. This may be construed as if they are against their organization. But that is not always the case. Whistleblowing needs some kind of motivation. Organizations generally think, internal problems should be resolved internally, and there is no need to blow the whistle to seek outside attention. The whistleblower should blow the whistle only when he or she feels internal problems cannot be solved internally. A whistleblower blows the whistle in the interest of the organization. He thinks whistleblowing can bring change in the organization. The whistleblowing loyalist breed is fast becoming endangered species. Preservation of these species is important for the wellbeing of organizations.

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© 2017 by Dr Purnendu Ghosh