Katz Grgory, Lenglet Marc, 2010, « Whistleblowing in French Corporations: Anatomy of a National Taboo », Philosophy of Management, vol. 9, n°1, p. 103-122.

    Denunciations, disclosures and reporting: why do whistleblowing procedures create an ethical dilemma in French corporations? Since July 2006, the requirement that foreign multinationals listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) implement this practice has been met with stiff resistance in many French companies. French labor unions see this controversy as a clash between the French and Anglo-Saxon models of transparency. To understand the moral reticence of French companies towards whistleblowing, we investigate five distinct perspectives: legal, economic, historical, philosophical and sociological. 1/ We first probe into the legal contradictions in French regulations and find in these paradoxes the symptoms of a national taboo. 2/ An economic survey, that gathers empirical data from 82 large French corporations, analyzes different business sectors in France and the working population covered by a whistleblowing procedure. 3/ To elicit the etiology of this taboo, we return to the historical sources of the Dreyfus Affair and the Vichy regime, whose political traumas remain imprinted on the collective French memory. The linguistic confusion between the two French terms délation and dénonciation shows why whistleblowing is perceived in France more as an act of betrayal than of heroism. 4/ The philosophical roots of whistleblowing also shed light on the organizational behavior of French companies and the transparency they are struggling to promote. 5/ Entangled in sociological ambiguities, we discuss why French companies see whistleblowing as a risk, not as a means to prevent risk.

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