Whistleblowing at Higher Education Institutes
This bachelor's thesis aims to explore the business feasibility of a blockchain-based solution for whistleblowing practices in Higher Education Institutes. The study follows the initial technical feasibility proven in the I@I research project done by FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts.
Daniel Winnips, 2023
Bachelor Thesis, FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts
Betreuende Dozierende: Frank Grimberg
Keywords: Whistleblowing Integrity@Inside I@I HEI
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The objective of this bachelor's thesis is to explore the feasibility of implementing a blockchain-based whistleblowing solution in Higher Education Institutes (HEI). The research project, Integrity@Inside (I@I), has already established the technical viability of the solution, but further investigation is required to assess its business feasibility. The aim of this thesis is to find out what the current state of development of reporting systems at Swiss universities is and to compare it with a country where the implementation of whistleblowing practices is more customary.
The research methodology involves a literature review to understand the significance of blockchain in whistleblowing and to explore the state of the art in research. It includes a desktop review of publicly available sources to assess the status of whistleblowing practices in Swiss HEI and the Netherlands as comparable country. Additionally, interviews with relevant stakeholders, such as student representatives, are conducted to gain first-hand insights on whistleblowing practices in Swiss HEI and the Netherlands.
Literature highlights various advantages of whistleblowing, however most of the research focuses primarily on corporate settings. The limited research done on the specific relevance of whistleblowing for HEI postulates that academic integrity can be improved through enablement of a trust culture and accompanying whistleblowing practices. The empirical research shows a discrepancy between defined and practiced values as stated in the literature. Students have the perception of not being heard and have no awareness around whistleblowing practices at HEI. By promoting a "speak-up" culture, and actively promoting the benefits of tools like blockchain, this awareness can be improved. The Integrity@Inside project of the FHNW laid a framework, but the potential of blockchain isn't completely understood, as showed by the empirical research. Whistleblowing should be seen as a culture management opportunity, aiding internal issue resolution without damaging reputation.
Studiengang: Business Information Technology (Bachelor)
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