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Whistleblowing: When It Works—And Why

Roberta Ann Johnson
Whistleblowing: When It Works—And Why
ISBN: 978-1-58826-114-4
ISBN: 978-1-58826-139-7
2002/171 pages/LC: 2002073940

"This book is sure to spark debate in forums from ethics to sociology to politics."—School Library Journal

"Highly recommended."—Choice

"This is an important book worthy of a wide, thoughtful audience. Recommended for public and academic libraries."—Library Journal

"Whistleblowers are turncoats to some, heroes to others. Ms. Johnson does an excellent job of explaining why we should all insist on protection for whistleblowers—who, in the long run, are protecting us."—Former U.S. Congresswoman Pat Schroeder

"An engaging, well-written analysis."—James Bowman, Editor, Public Integrity

"Imaginative and successful. . . . presents a cast of characters from whom students can learn and with whom they can identify."—Myron Peretz Glazer, Smith College

"Whistleblowing brings alive policy formation and the workings of bureaucracy."—Emily Stoper, California State University, Hayward


Whistleblowers can ruin lives—and can save them. Is it worth it? Roberta Ann Johnson explores when and how—and to what effect—people make the choice to blow the whistle. Engrossing case studies from the tobacco industry, to NASA, to the FDA illustrate clearly how individual efforts can and do transform institutions, shape public policy, and serve as a force for democratization.


Roberta Ann Johnson is professor emeritus of politics at the University of San Francisco.


  • Preface.
  • The Insider: Jeffrey Wigand and the Tobacco Industry.
  • Deciding to Become a Whistleblower: NASA and Roger Boisjoly; Cindy Ossias and the California DOI.
  • The Whistleblower as Policy Entrepreneur: Hal Freeman and the OCR; Hugh Kaufman and the EPA.
  • The Whistleblower's Impact on the Agency: Barbara Moulton and the FDA.
  • Protecting the Whistleblower: The INS and Neil Jacobs.
  • Whistleblowing as an Export.