Whistleblowers After Disclosure: Financial Impacts, Career Paths, and Survival Strategies

Whistleblowers perform a vital role in society, alerting the public to financial fraud, abuse in institutions and potential environmental disasters. But many genuine whistleblowers find themselves without a source of income and with little prospect of sourcing further work in their chosen career. If this situation does not change, fewer and fewer whistleblowers will come forward.

In an 18-month study between 2016 and 2018 our team interviewed 58 whistleblowers and 17 experts, and gathered quantitative data from a survey of 92 whistleblowers who had left their current role as a result of speaking out.  Our research was supported by UK’s ESRC and findings are available on www.whistleblowingimpact.org.

Our research produced:

– Evidence of the financial impacts of disclosure,
– Detailed analysis of personal costs,
– Reported benefits of having spoken out in accordance with personal values,
– Insights into gaining meaningful employment after leaving the organization due to whistleblowing.
– Recommendations to ensure that those who sacrifice much for society’s protection are better supported.

Research: Professor Kate Kenny (NUI Galway), Professor Marianna Fotaki (Warwick Business School)

Watch a summary of the project findings:


Working with people who have found themselves in this situation, we created short and accessible summaries of people’s career stories.

Watch our panel of whistleblowers discuss what they found helpful and supportive in the post-disclosure phase


Richard Bowen
Cathy Scharf
Kim Holt
Martin Woods
Wendy Addison

Panel hosted by Professor Marianna Fotaki.

For assistance with the research we thank: The UK Economic & Social Research Institute [Project No. ES/N007085/1], our research team Professor Kate Kenny, NUI Galway, Professor Marianna Fotaki, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, U.K. and Dr Alexis Bushnell, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, members of our Project Advisory Team Dr Wim Vandekerckhove, Dr Justin Schlosberg, Dana Gold, Tom Devine, John Devitt, Wendy Addison and Ian Foxley, and our institutions NUI Galway Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast, and Warwick University. In particular, we acknowledge the help of the Government Accountability Project with our survey and their support throughout the project.