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Changing attitudes to speak-up culture



Freshfields whistleblowing survey 2023

Whistleblowing, and the promotion of a strong speak-up culture, continues to be a hot topic. With the implementation of new whistleblowing laws in many jurisdictions around the world, ongoing regulatory attention on the importance of whistleblowing, and continued scrutiny of related topics such as non-disclosure agreements, whistleblowing remains in the spotlight.

At a societal level, the long-lasting impact of the #MeToo movement, and the broader stakeholder focus on corporate culture and employee behaviour have impacted attitudes towards whistleblowing and expectations as to how whistleblowing will be handled. Companies must grapple with those expectations against the backdrop of significant changes in the workplace, with remote and hybrid working arrangements becoming the norm for many global employers. 

In a continuation of the exercise we began in 2014, we have gathered the views of over 2,500 managers – across various levels of seniority and responsibility in large companies and 13 industries in the UK, the US, Hong Kong, Germany and France – to gauge their attitudes towards whistleblowing and how they may have changed since our last survey in 2020.

We’ve identified a number of interesting trends in this data, including on changing attitudes towards anonymity for whistleblowers, differing opinions across jurisdictions on whether whistleblowers should receive a financial incentive and the impact since 2020 of the increase in remote / hybrid working on whistleblowing.   


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