The practice of individuals carrying out non-violent acts of protest against the perceived injustices and malpractices of large organisations or institutions has a long history that stretches back to the advent of the industrial revolution and beyond. The case of the Tolpuddle Martyrs(1) is an infamous case of public protest by a same disorganised group of farmer labourers against the harsh demands put upon them by a brutal and powerful band of land owners who had the support of the government of the day. The labours who started the protest endured great personal suffering as a result of their actions but such was the harshness and injustice of their treatment that it caused a massive public outcry at the time and resulted in the formation of unions to fight for the rights of workers and improved employment conditions.
The act of whistle blowing is a much more recent trend and as a separate and distinct action it has only come to full public attention within the last 30 years or so and this coincides with the increased globalisation of companies and governing bodies in the same period and it could be argued that this is not entirely incidental.
With the formation and growth of organisations with complex systems, procedures and management structures there has been an associated decrease in the transparency of these organisations. This is made them less accountable to outside bodies like the government or pressure groups and so the prevalence and importance of people speaking out from within the ranks of these organisations in order to uncover bad practices, corruption and fraud has become increasingly high profile.
When first considered, the act of Whistle Blowing can be considered to be a similar non-violent public protest or outcry of an individual or small group against a larger and...