Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections
(Page 2 of 2)

When a Woman Blows the Whistle

Females may be treated more harshly by colleagues and the public.

January 27, 2002|BARBARA BROTMAN | CHICAGO TRIBUNE

"The second is the unintended whistle-blower, who raises concerns like a normal person would raise them, but because of the dysfunction within the institution they raise concerns about, they get retaliated against. And what often happens is, the two categories get merged."

Whistle-blowers tend to have an independent moral structure, he said, that makes them question superiors' assurances that the company's actions are correct.

How is Watkins' role likely to be judged? Kohn said it depends on who is doing the judging and how they feel about the practices she exposed. For example, the general public regards tobacco industry whistle-blowers as courageous, he said, but tobacco company employees consider them disloyal.

Bernabei warned that even when whistle-blowers turn out to be prescient in their warnings, they are rarely rewarded by their institutions. "The reality is, nobody wants to say, 'You told us so; you should be in a better position because you had wiser vision,'" she said.

But Charles Elson, director of the Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, thinks that is exactly how Watkins will be perceived. "She had the courage to come forward. She kind of called it; that took a lot of guts. I would say someone like that comes out a heroine, not a snitch."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|