Integrity watchdogs, lap dogs, and dead dogs

Katrina A. Bramstedt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate/opinionResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Integrity officers working in academic and research settings can be termed “watchdogs” based on characteristics and behaviors that align with their role: alert, loyal to their training, responders, notifiers. These watchdogs have a difficult role that involves being the receiver and transmitter of sensitive information that often relates to personal and corporate image, as well as funding. Academic and research organizations must operationalize their mission and vision with more than static policies and procedures about integrity and professionalism, or they risk their watchdogs being reduced to “lap dogs” with a diminutive and submissive presence who are merely loyal to the comfort zone of their employer. A lap dog role has several potential side effects including moral distress and moral injury for the integrity officer, as well as poor service quality for whistle-blowers and other service users. Organizations have a duty to ensure their integrity programs are meaningfully supported, including respecting the human constructs of the watchdog role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-195
Number of pages5
JournalAccountability in research
Issue number3
Early online date15 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Integrity watchdogs, lap dogs, and dead dogs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this