THE WHISTLEBLOWERS by Myron Peretz Glazer


Exposing Corruption in Government
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M.P. Glazer (Sociology and Anthropology/Smith College) and P.M. Glazer (History/ Hampshire College) combine forces to study people who speak up against conformity, corruption, and shoddy practices in their workplaces. The authors interviewed 64 of these "whistleblowers" over a period of six years, carefully choosing those who had spoken out after witnessing a serious violation of legal or ethical standards. Emphasis here is on "carefully," as the authors take pains to omit whistleblowers who are simply disgruntled employees. Thus, candidates had to have persuasive evidence to corroborate their personal observations. Those interviewed included both professional and blue-collar workers in both government and private industry (the Glazers found that whistleblowing cuts across all lines of class and gender). What's most surprising here is that, contrary to perceived notions, whistleblowers are not, generally, wild-eyed radicals or born rebels. Rather, they are mostly conservative folks dedicated to their work and organizations. Whistleblowing became a significant social force only in the 1960's, as various government regulations came into effect to protect workers who report corruption in the workplace. Readers will find some familiar names here--e.g., Frank Serpico, who fought corruption in the NYPD, and Boyd and Carpenter, who together brought down Senator Thomas Dodd. The Glazers document whistleblowers' many successes, as well as the mental anguish of career dislocations and of harassment techniques (e.g., phone calls in the middle of the night). The authors' insistence on referring to their subjects as "ethical resisters" adds a cloying note of antiestablishment populism to their study, but, in all, this is a passionate paean to a ground-breaking group of concerned workers who have paid their dues on behalf of safety and ethics.

Pub Date: March 14th, 1989
ISBN: 465-09173-3
Publisher: Basic
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