Skip navigation

Whistleblowing: the role of trade unions

Whistleblowing: the role of trade unions

Phillips, Arron ORCID: 0000-0002-4696-5196 (2022) Whistleblowing: the role of trade unions. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

42954-PHILIIPS-Whistlewblowing-the-role-of-trade-unions.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (4MB) | Preview


Whistleblowing occurs predominantly within the workplace by individuals seeking to raise a concern. Trade unions seek to support their members in the workplace and more broadly in society. As such, we might expect that trade unions engage by supporting members who wish to blow the whistle. However, there is little prior research on the role trade unions have in the field of whistleblowing. This thesis seeks to explore this topic. It considers both the internal role within the workplace, namely advisory, supporting, collective bargaining and engagement in policy, and the external role within society, specifically focused on engagement with other organisations, collective bargaining and political lobbying. Drawing on interviews with trade union representatives and whistleblowing experts, document and website analysis, parliamentary debates and a dataset from a whistleblowing advice line, the thesis takes a pragmatic approach to investigate the phenomenon. While the thesis focuses on the United Kingdom, it draws on data from Norway and the Netherlands to highlight where differences in approach and engagement might exist. The thesis finds that trade unions currently play a limited role in supporting whistleblowing and sets up four paradoxes that arise in relation to their engagement. This thesis makes a theoretical contribution to the wider whistleblowing literature by identifying an alternative approach to addressing the victimisation whistleblowers face. It also questions the linear three-tier approach to trade unions and whistleblowing suggested in the literature. Finally, it develops our understanding of the voice literature and how whistleblowing fits into this by suggesting that the collective voice of trade unions needs to be considered as a mediating factor in individual voice processes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Last Modified: 30 May 2023 12:16

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics