Why are organisations scared of making whistleblowing easy?

  • Why are organisations scared of making whistleblowing easy?

  • Frank Di Mauro

    June 28, 2021 at 7:15 am

    Since the launch of HaYa Org in late 2020 we have been introducing HaYa Org to many organisations in different sectors as a tool to allow for easy anonymous reporting and whistleblowing.

    Unlike other systems out there, such as telephony, web forms and email, HaYa Org makes it very easy, quick, convenient and safe for people to contact organisations anonymously. The benefit of HaYa Org also extends to the organisation itself as it allows them to have a live chat with the person over an extended period making it a much more efficient tool to gather information.

    We thought that organisations would jump at the use of HaYa Org as there is virtually no cost to implementing it and it is there as an additional channel rather than replacing existing channels.

    The response from people involved in the departments tasked with managing whistleblowing and anonymous reporting (HR, compliance, legal etc) absolutely loved HaYa Org as they could see the huge benefit to their operations.

    BUT, much to our surprise, it was senior management that blocked the introduction of HaYa Org.

    The excuses given ranged from “we don’t have the resources” to “we don’t need any more reporting channels”.

    The truths, after some “off the record conversations” (ironically using our own HaYa Org channel), was given to us by the people within these organisations that wanted to use HaYa Org.

    Donald Rumsfeld said it best

    “There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

    Here are the 3 main reasons why organisations don’t want to make it easy to whistleblow:

    1. Fear of the “known knowns”. Senior management are aware of issues but since they haven’t been brought forward (because of the inadequate systems in place) they don’t want to make it easy for them to come to light.
    2. Fear of the “known unknowns”. Senior management are aware that there are things going on but not sure what they are and would rather stick their head in the sand rather than allowing them to come out and having to deal with them.
    3. Fear of the “unknown unknowns”. This is the biggest fear of them all which is that senior management are so afraid of what might come out that they are quite happy to stick with the status quo.

    We understand this fear and I am sure most of you reading this would also be nervous about making whistleblowing easy if you oversaw an organisation and had to deal with “known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns”.

    So how do we change from a Rumsfeldian culture to a Parrhesian culture?

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