The Effectiveness of Whistleblowing

886 Words4 Pages
Our country was built on the underdog story, of standing strong in the face of hopelessness against Great Britain. Nearly 250 years later, this mentality still stands. The “American Dream” is alive and well, or so we like to believe. If the little guy works just a little bit harder, one day he can ascend through the ranks and become president. This is our mythology, our creed, the beliefs that we as a people have adopted in the place of religion. It is easy to see, then, why we as a people believe in the whistleblower, the powerless man taking a stand against injustice in an organization. He is, in many ways, another embodiment of the American Dream.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 30 states have some sort of legal protection for whistleblowers; additionally, there are many federal laws that further protect whistleblowers. In this essay, a “whistleblower” will be defined as any person who exposes an organization involved in a contraband activity. “Success” or “effectiveness” will be measured by the outcome of the whistleblowing. If the forbidden activity stopped, the whistleblowing will be considered a success; if it continued, the whistleblowing was not. When analyzed with these metrics, whistleblowing is not nearly as effective as the public would like to believe. Its success depends heavily upon the strength of the organization under scrutiny, the receptiveness of the public to the issue, and the magnitude of the offense.
The most glaring instance of whistleblowing is the Edward Snowden case. This instance can be classified as an “individual vs. government” type of accusation. In recent years, this type of whistleblowing has seen very little success. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, the...

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