Dr. Richardson Publishes Article on Complicit Whistleblowers | Communication Studies
October 29, 2019

Dr. Richardson Publishes Article on Complicit Whistleblowers

Dr. Brian Richardson recently published an article entitled, "Stakeholders' attributions of whistleblowers: The effects of complicity and motives on perceptions of likeability, credibility, and legitimacy" in the journal The International Journal of Business Communication. The study, co-authored with Dr. Johny Garner of Texas Christian University, addressed factors which might increase or reduce stakeholder support for organizational whistleblowers. The study sampled two stakeholder groups: university alumni and members of fraternities and sororities. Both groups found complicit whistleblowers, those who participated in the wrongdoing they were now reporting, as less likeable and credible than innocent whistleblowers. Fraternity and sorority members also found altruistic whistleblowers, those who blew the whistle for honorable reasons as more likeable, credible, and legitimate than those who blew the whistle for selfish reasons, e.g. for personal gain. Richardson and Garner argue whistleblowers who can gain stakeholder support will be more successful than those who do not; however, stakeholders can vary their support based on their attributions of whistleblower activity.