SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: The purpose of this article is to discuss an external whistleblowing event that occurred after all internal whistleblowing through the hierarchy of the organization had failed. It is argued that an organization that does not support those that whistle blow because of violation of professional standards is indicative of a failure of organizational ethics. Several ways to build an ethics infrastructure that could reduce the need to resort to external whistleblowing are discussed. A relational ethics approach is presented as a way to eliminate the negative consequences of whistleblowing by fostering an interdependent moral community to address ethical concerns.
Abstract: Using data from embedded participant-observers and a field experiment at the second largest mobile phone factory in the world, located in China, I theorize and test the implications of transparent organizational design on workers’ productivity and organizational performance. Drawing from theory and research on learning and control, I introduce the notion of a transparency paradox, whereby maintaining observability of workers may counterintuitively reduce their performance by inducing those being observed to conceal their activities through codes and other costly means; conversely, creating zones of privacy may, under certain conditions, increase performance. Empirical evidence from the field shows that even a modest increase in group-level privacy sustainably and significantly improves line performance, while qualitative evidence suggests that privacy is important in supporting productive deviance, localized experimentation, distraction avoidance, and continuous improvement. I discuss implications of these results for theory on learning and control and suggest directions for future research.