Employees who are aware of illegal or unethical practice in the institutions that they work for may report this to external authority with responsibility for safeguarding the public interest. This may involve going to the media if no other course is practicable. Reporting malpractice is therefore a means of ensuring accountability.
Past experience has demonstrated that it is in the interests of any organization that is concerned for its reputation that employees concerned by operational inadequacies should report any form of malpractice. Whistleblowing tends to result in difficulties for the person reporting malpractice. This may range from the recriminations of fellow employees, through constraints on career advancement, to dismissal, to professional blacklisting that seriously jeopardizes the whistleblower's livelihood.
A 24 hour telephone hotline for whistleblowers to inform on U.K. companies involved in price fixing and market sharing was in february 1995 by the Government.
Society owes a debt of gratitude to its whistleblowers. If organizations and their executives subscribed to high moral standards, there would be no malpractice, no need for regulation and consequently no need for whistleblowers. In contemporary society vigilance is needed to deal with illegal price-fixing, disregard for health and safety rules, cheating on contractual arrangements, abuse and incompetence, and fraud. It is an unsatisfactory procedure but constitutes a necessary safeguard.
Whistleblowing is simply another term for informing; societies that encourage informers were infamous tyrannies. Whistleblowing has unfortunate negative effects on organization morale. Potential whistleblowers should exhaust internal channels before communicating with external authorities.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.