facility:university of bath abstract

  • Why many people do not like whistleblowers

    Une nouvelle étude donne une explication biologique (basé sur la théorie des jeux) pour le fait qu’il n’est pas évident pour les lanceurs d’alerte de dénoncer quand ça concerne l’organisation dans la quelle ils font partie ; en termes évolutionnaires il serait plus bénéfique de respecter (coopérer avec) les structures existantes plutôt que de les dénoncer.


    “It’s generally very difficult to maintain cooperation between individuals but you can unite people by believing in a common truth, for example maintaining a company culture."

    “The dark side to this is that individuals who act on a piece of information that goes against this perceived common truth pay a reputational cost, even if their information is correct. An example of this is when whistleblowers are vilified by colleagues, even when the evidence is in their favour."


    “In circumstances where like-minded individuals work together, it is evolutionarily more beneficial for individuals to ‘toe the party line’.”


    “You can’t solve this problem by simply criminalising those who don’t speak up against their organisation when something is wrong - this just raises the stakes higher and makes it an even more stressful working culture in which to work.

    “Instead organisations should try to lower the reputational cost to whistleblowers, acknowledging that this is a problem of human biology and introduce measures to make it easier to report problems rather than simply introducing criminal punishments to those who don’t have the courage to go against their biology.”

    L’étude :

    Value Homophily Benefits Cooperation but Motivates Employing Incorrect Social Information
    Journal of Theoretical Biology
    Paul Rauwolf, Dominic Mitchell, Joanna Bryson - University of Bath

    Individuals often judge others based on third-party gossip, rather than their own experience, despite the fact that gossip is error-prone. Here we seek to understand this observation in the context of the evolution of cooperation. If individuals are being judged on noisy social reputations rather than on merit, then agents might exploit this, eroding the sustainability of cooperation. We employ a version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, the Donation game, which has been used to simulate the evolution of cooperation through indirect reciprocity.

    First, we validate the proposition that adding homophily (the propensity to interact with others of similar beliefs) into a society increases the sustainability of cooperation. However, this creates an evolutionary conflict between the accurate signalling of ingroup status versus the veridical report of the behaviour of other agents.

    We find that conditions exist where signalling ingroup status outweighs honesty as the best method to ultimately spread cooperation.


    • The benefits of gossip and social exclusion inside groups

      Dans le même contexte, une autre étude début de l’année démontre les avantages cachés des ragots et exclusions sociales dans un groupe.


      “Groups that allow their members to gossip, sustain cooperation and deter selfishness better than those that don’t. And groups do even better if they can gossip and ostracize untrustworthy members. While both of these behaviors can be misused, our findings suggest that they also serve very important functions for groups and society.”


      “By removing defectors, more cooperative individuals can more freely invest in the public good without fear of exploitation,”


      When people know that others may gossip about them – and experience the resulting social exclusion – they tend to learn from the experience and reform their behavior by cooperating more in future group settings. In contrast, highly anonymous groups, like many Internet message boards, lack accountability and thereby allow antisocial behavior to thrive.

      Rob Willer, Matthew Feinberg Stanford University

    • @thibnton : je constate l’utilisation non-systématique de deux tags #whistleblower et #whistleblowing ce qui pourrait réduire efficacité des recherches (à moins de chercher sur whistleblow :) ) ; ce qui me mène à l’envie de trancher pour moi-même lequel serait le mieux mais je n’ai pour l’instant pas d’avis ferme, juste une inclinaison vers le « whistleblowing » non-décliné parce que plus général.

      une opinion ?

      au fait, existerait-il des espèces de conventions implicites concernant l’utilisation de tags dans ce contexte-ci ? des best practices ?


    • étrange ! chez moi ça marche.
      aussi bien pour une recherche sur texte que sur hashtag.

      là je reçois tous les whistleblower, whistleblowers, whistleblowing, ....

      j’avais l’impression que la première fois ça n’avais pas marché, et le temps de taper un message ça fonctionne...

      @karl_groucho_d : whistleblower = lanceur d’alerte