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Responses to common challenges encountered when establishing internal whistleblowing mechanisms

Effective whistleblowing mechanisms increase accountability, trust, and uncover misconduct and fraud. However, common challenges such as a lack of understanding, ineffective management, and inadequate channels may inhibit their establishment. Potential whistleblowers may also fear retaliation or breaches of confidentiality. Solutions such as training courses, digital software, case management, and "speak up" awards have been proposed by researchers, civil society organisations, and the private sector. These can result in a more effective and accountable workplace where staff are more willing to blow the whistle internally. Evidence suggests that comprehensive implementation of such solutions can address these challenges and create a more transparent and responsible workplace culture.

26 February 2023
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Main points

  • Internal whistleblowing systems have been proven to increase accountability and trust within an organisation and ensure that issues are raised directly with those best placed to resolve them.
  • Digital technologies are increasingly providing solutions to improve internal reporting channels and to circumvent potential obstacles. They can improve accessibility of reporting channels, ensure effective case management and guarantee anonymity for reporting persons.
  • Other notable solutions include ensuring the accessibility of reporting systems through adapting each one to the cultural contexts, gender, work environments and different languages of staff, providing “speak up” awards, and engaging trade unions and works councils throughout the formation and implementation of reporting systems.

Cite this publication

Maslen, C.; (2023) Responses to common challenges encountered when establishing internal whistleblowing mechanisms. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2023:5)

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