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It takes a village to raise a whistleblower

Vera Cherepanova (vera.cherepanova@studioetica.com) is an independent ethics and compliance consultant based in Milan, Italy.

Since Time magazine proclaimed three whistleblowers as the “Person of the Year” in 2002, the issue of whistleblowing encouragement and protection gained considerable attention from governments, corporations, and media. G20 leaders acknowledged whistleblowing as a key element of global anti-corruption strategy, which resulted in significant advancements in the regulatory landscape. Recently Italy took an important step towards whistleblower protection by adopting a new piece of legislation with comprehensive provisions. I take this opportunity to reflect on the fear of retaliation as one of the key constraints of reporting a wrongdoing and come to the conclusion that legal protection alone is not sufficient. Its positive effect is enhanced by another important influence: a company’s ethical climate.

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