Originally found at Forbes
Employees who witness unethical behavior at work are reluctant to speak up because they fear retaliation. Now new research suggests that when it comes to blowing the whistle, women may face more retaliation than their male counterparts. However, a slight reframing of the message can reduce the chances of retaliation for both men and women.
New research published in the Academy of Management Journal found that men in powerful positions in organizations are less likely to face retaliation when they speak up and point out moral infractions. But this benefit of power doesn’t apply to women. Women of all levels face retaliation when they blow the whistle at work.
In one experiment, the researchers had participants complete a team project via group chat. During the project, the experimenters had a fake participant named Kevin or Kate raise a moral objection related to the task the group was completing. The study’s lead author Tim Kundro, a professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, says the objections raised weren’t necessarily illegal or unethical but typically fell into “a moral gray zone.”
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