Resilience and whistleblowers: Coping with the consequences

Tina Uys, Ria Smit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the whistleblower’s ability to cope with the repercussions of showing ‘ethical resistance’ in the workplace is a neglected area of research. Drawing on qualitative data from narrative interviews with whistleblowers in South Africa, this article analyses the ways in which whistleblowers deal with the hostile responses from employers that tend to follow their disclosures. Most of the participants employed successful coping mechanisms showing that they remained hopeful that justice would prevail, even amidst emotions of distress and fear due to organisational reprisal. The study showed that the resilience perspective is an important frame for understanding whistleblowers’ responses to the challenging consequences of their actions. Practitioners should consider ways to enhance individual resilience to ensure a positive outcome of disclosures of organisational wrongdoing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-79
Number of pages20
JournalSouth African Review of Sociology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • coping strategies
  • individual resilience
  • sense of coherence
  • whistleblowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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