Title: Betrayal of local government whistleblowers: expecting rights and resources, facing harsh realities

Authors: Rebecca L. Stafford

Addresses: 6645 Brighton Place, Alta Loma, CA, USA

Abstract: This is an in-depth and innovative study that examines the experiences of public leader whistleblowers of county government agencies who were targets of employer retaliation. When circumstances are such that a person confronts corruption in an organisation, they can be exposed to biological, psychological, and sociological factors that contribute to intensified and prolonged psychological trauma. In politicised government agencies, whistleblowers are vulnerable to retaliatory action that results in job loss with subsequent financial devastation (Alford, 2001), exacerbated by a lack of legitimate resources (Stafford, 2015). A convenience sample of 11 public leader whistle blowers' narratives of their traumatic experiences and their efforts to cope, revealed betrayal by organisational procedures that workers expected would protect them. This duplicity was compounded by a paucity of resources outside their offending organisations, necessary to help them restore their lives.

Keywords: biopsychosocial model of challenge and threat; posttraumatic growth; professional development; whistleblower-employer retaliation; ethical public leadership and management; whistleblower resource development; workplace health and psychological safety.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRDM.2017.085272

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2017 Vol.17 No.1/2, pp.162 - 181

Received: 07 Mar 2016
Accepted: 26 Feb 2017

Published online: 19 Jul 2017 *

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