Expression of Organizational Dissent by Employees

Expression of Organizational Dissent by Employees




Expression of Organizational Dissent by Employees

What individual factors contributed to Willingham’s dissent expression?

Willingham says that her recent research discovery on illiteracy resonates with the issues that have been at the centre of her focus for most of her life. Being brought up in South Side of Chicago, she was exposed to socioeconomic inequities first hand. Her family was also at the forefront of reducing racial tensions in their neighborhood. For example, they prevented the white community from relocating in fear of the black family that moved into their vicinity. Willingham had a personal ambition to reduce this disparity in economic resource distribution. She acknowledged the privileges bestowed upon the children of the wealthy. She claims that their expression is epitomized in education where the privileged children can afford tutors while the under privileged lag behind (Wilson, 2014). It follows that after she was placed in the athletic department, he took a personal interest on the athletes’ academic performance. She discovered that the high illiteracy in these athletes could be traced back to the socioeconomic conditions during their upbringing.

What relational factors were involved? Is there now support or was there support for her claims from coworkers? From whom and why?

Willingham seems to be in cordial relationships with horizontal colleagues that is employees at the same level (Kissing, 1997). However, her vertical relations are troubled, as they perceive her to tarnish the reputation of the institution. Majority of her critiques in the University have posts senior to hers hence their ability to halt her research. Frank. R. Baumgartner, a professor of political science, has been most vocal in her support for Willingham in tandem criticising the administration for their actions. He terms them as vindictive and they will work to the overall detriment of the entire institution. It will dissuade production of essential scholarly discoveries for fear that they may portray the university in a bad light. The university’s administration ought to have received her findings in good faith subsequently sparking a nation wide debate on how to find equilibrium between athletics and academics.

What organizational factors should she have considered or did she appear to consider?

Willingham assumed that the organization had democratic tendencies and would welcome her participation toward the betterment of the institution. In a pro-democracy institution, exercising your freedom of speech is only natural. In fact, it should the norm attracting little attention. Instructors usually do research on topics of interest and they are meant to come up with truthful conclusions regardless how controversial they may seem. She perceived the institution as tolerant to dissident through socialization.

Has Willingham been construed as adversarial or constructive? By whom?

Though Willingham research had utility as a corrective mechanism especially pertaining to the institution’s athletic policies, it was perceived by the administration as adversarial. The research was seen to blemish the institution’s standing on a global scene owing to CNN’s interest in the story. The retaliation was swift as the universities administrators’ concerted efforts to halt any further research. They interpreted the research as questioning the institution’s resolve to provide quality education. James W. Dean Jnr., the provost, claim the research was based on a false premise, as the alleged athletes’ reading levels contained in her study were wrong (Wilson, 2014). In the same line, the university’s director of the office research ethics, Daniel K. Nelson claimed that he had revealed his test subjects’ identities predisposing them to victimization.

What kinds and levels of retaliation has Willingham experienced?

The administration used bureaucratic control to retaliate on Willingham by telling her to request the permission to continue from the IRB. The also attacked the fundamental capacity of her ability to do research by claiming her data collection is flawed. Similarly, they portrayed her as lacking ethical credibility by exposing her test subjects to public scrutiny. She has had informal retaliation in through death threats. Overall, there has been a character smear campaign disputing the validity of her findings from every dimension. The public interest in the matter has restrained the organization from firing her without cause.



Kassing, J. W. (1997). Articulating, antagonizing, and displacing: A model of employee dissent. Communication Studies, 48(4), 311-332. Print.

Lennane, J. (2012). What happens to whistleblowers, and why. Social Medicine, 6(4), 249-258. Print.

Wilson, R. (2014) “Chapel Hill Researcher’s Findings on Athletes’ Literacy Bring a Backlash”. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Print.

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