The Power of
Belief Systems for
ONLY THOSE EMPLOYEES who have a highly developed alternative belief system can withstand the intense pressure to conform to the requirements of management. As we have seen in chapter 3, professional socialization inculcates such values. In other cases, strong religious commitments reinforce the resolve to live up to the professions' highest standards. The beliefs of religious resisters are unshakable and provide powerful motivation to act out their ideas of individual responsibility. Other whistleblowers, usually workers, are motivated by concern for the well-being of neighbors and friends. As residents of their communities, they feel compelled to act against hazards that might injure those whom they see on a day-to-day basis. One worker, who protested illegal dumping of untreated sewage in the local river, explained his inability to stand idly by, watching children at play in areas he knew to be contaminated. For this man, and others like him, neither the promise of reward nor the threat of retaliation by his superiors was sufficient to override his deeply held values about the meaning of community.
In this chapter we shall present the experiences of an engineer, a lawyer, and a physician who drew upon profound religious beliefs in standing up