What Motivates Whistleblowers to Speak Out?

Posted by: Chris

Many people witness unethical behavior in the workplace, but that doesn’t mean that they will report it. Whistleblowing, which is the process of reporting or drawing attention to unethical or illegal behavior, is actually quite rare. Those who choose to blow the whistle are often applauded for being brave enough to come forward. But, what motivates these whistleblowers to speak out?

Belief in Doing What’s Right

For the most part, whistleblowers understand the potential risks and consequences of what they’re doing. Whistleblowers risk losing their jobs, damaging their reputations, and being criticized by the public and their peers. However, these individuals believe that doing what they believe is right is worth risking it all. In their eyes, the sacrifices they may have to make are for the greater good.

Not Afraid of Nonconformity

Many people may be afraid to speak out because they don’t want to be viewed as an outsider, or someone who is different from everyone else. But, whistleblowers do not have this fear of nonconformity. Some whistleblowers may not be afraid of being viewed as a nonconformist because they hold professional positions or have been recently recognized for their performance. These employees may feel they have less to lose by choosing to speak up instead of conforming.


Some whistleblowers are motivated to take action after wondering how they will feel about themselves if they choose to do nothing. These whistleblowers may think about the future and realize they will regret not doing the right thing if they don’t act now. This is especially true if the wrongdoing involves something that could put others’ lives at risk. For example, let’s say you know that you employer is forcing employees to work in unsafe conditions. In this case, you may always regret not blowing the whistle on your employer if someone ends up seriously injured as a result of your silence.

Views of Authority

As children, we are taught to obey authority figures such as police officers and teachers. So, when an authority figure such as an employer acts in an unethical manner, many people find it difficult to speak up because of their belief that it is important to obey and respect authority figures. However, whistleblowers understand that authority should be challenged when appropriate. They do not blindly follow someone just because that person holds a position of power. In fact, they may even hold authority figures to higher standards than others.

Blowing the whistle is an act that requires a great deal of courage. If you have been retaliated against because of your decision to report wrongdoing in the workplace, seek legal representation at once. Our attorneys will explain your legal options and work tirelessly to protect your rights. Call today at 918-582-2500, or toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.