Hero or “Prince of Darkness”? Locating Peer Jacob Svenkerud in an Attributions-Based Typology of Whistleblowers

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This book chapter explores how whistleblowers are typified and understood by key stakeholders.

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13 p.

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Richardson, Brian K. 2021.

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This book chapter explores how whistleblowers are typified and understood by key stakeholders.

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13 p.

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Abstract: Is whistleblower Peer Jacob Svenkerud (PJS) a hero or “prince of darkness”? Interestingly, the academic literature seems generally indifferent to how whistleblowers are typified and understood by key stakeholders, despite the important role stakeholders can play in whistleblowing cases. Most whistleblowing scholarship fails to differentiate whistleblowers, treating their involvement in the wrongdoing they are now reporting and their motives for blowing the whistle as irrelevant for understanding them. As whistleblowing becomes an increasingly used mechanism for reporting organizational wrongdoing, it is important we develop a more sophisticated understanding of those who report unethical behavior. This essay proposes a typology of whistleblowers based on the attributions stakeholders might make about them. These attributions are based on two factors: (1) whether whistleblowers engaged in wrongdoing themselves or merely observed it and (2) their perceived motivations for blowing the whistle. Using these two factors, this chapter describes a 2×2 typology describing four types of whistleblowers: the saint, the opportunist, the confessor, and the jilted lover. Description of the typology is followed by a set of theoretical propositions about how select stakeholders might perceive whistleblowers. The chapter then positions PJS within the typology before using case details to assess the typology and associated propositions.

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  • Whistleblowing, Communication and Consequences: Lessons from The Norwegian National Lottery, (1st ed.)., Routledge, 2021

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  • Publication Title: Whistleblowing, Communication and Consequences: Lessons from The Norwegian National Lottery
  • Edition: 1
  • Pages: 13
  • Page Start: 151
  • Page End: 163
  • Preferred Citation: Svenkerud, P.J., Sørnes, J.-O., & Browning, L. (Eds.). (2021). Whistleblowing, Communication and Consequences: Lessons from The Norwegian National Lottery (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780367822033

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  • 2021

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  • May 27, 2022, 5:47 a.m.

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  • July 28, 2022, 10:15 a.m.

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Richardson, Brian K. Hero or “Prince of Darkness”? Locating Peer Jacob Svenkerud in an Attributions-Based Typology of Whistleblowers, chapter, 2021; (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1934017/: accessed December 4, 2022), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences.

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