Whistleblower. Snitch. Informer. Whatever you call them, employees and outsiders who expose the misconduct of an organization frequently brings up questions of ethics, accountability and organizational values.
The role of the whistleblower is a tricky one, as they risk safety, status and job security in order to maintain integrity and avoid complicity in unethical behavior. Once the whistle is blown, organizations must take into consideration the role of confidentiality, obedience and loyalty, to both employees and clients.
But are all whistleblowers heros? The answer isn't easily reconciled by the whistleblower's intentions (public good vs. fame or avoiding guilt by association). Sometimes, matters of national security are compromised. And as David Berreby says, infringing on personal or state secrets robs people of that "control over self-presentation that's essential to human dignity and autonomy."