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Women whistleblowers face more retaliation than men: Study

Written by: Staff

Washington, May 2 : Women whistleblowers who alert authorities about their organizations' wrongdoing suffer more retaliation than men, according to a new study.

The researchers conducted their study over a single U.S. military unit in the Midwest with 9,900 employees; of which two-third were civilians and one-third were active duty military.

Out of 3,288 respondents, 37 pct had reported observing wrongdoing within the prior year.

"The levels of retaliation as perceived by the women we surveyed were greater than those perceived by men," said Prof. Marcia Miceli of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, one of the study's co-authors.

The team studied factors influencing severity of retaliation including whistleblower's low power in the organization, seriousness of the wrong-doing including wrong-doer power, the effect of wrong-doing on the whistle-blower and lack of support from colleagues.

The findings revealed that all except the first of the factors weighed against female whistleblowers but generally did not discourage them from pursuing their complaints.

Even women's rank didn't insulate her though power did help men.

"Even if the woman had significant power within the organization, she still wasn't protected," Miceli added.

The study also revealed that 15 pct of the women had poor performance appraisal, 14 pct were under tight scrutiny of daily activities by management, 12 pct faced verbal harassment or intimidation, 11 pct said that the co-workers did not socialize with them and 10 pct said that they were not provided with complete information required to perform a job successfully.

The study is published in the current issue of Organization Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).


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