Whistle blowing is an attempt by an employee or former employer of an organization to disclose what she or he believes to be wrong doing sin or by the organization (James 1995)
In Whistleblowing, raising concerns and speaking up are all phrases which describe disclosing information to an employer or where appropriate a regulator, police or the media about malpractice, wrongdoing or a risk to safety.
Whistleblowing is providing a solution to resolve such situations: it opens nonexistent or hidden information sources and channels. The reasons for revealing information can be manifold: e.g. when someone notices such an abuse at his/her place of work and would like ...view middle of the document...
Responsible people blow the whistle when they believe more harm than good will occur if the whistleblower stays silent. A virtuous whistleblower acts in an ethical manner if she truly believes a responsibility exists to protect the public interest. Such a person is willing to accept the consequences of her actions. i.e., she is accountable for her actions.
Loyalty is a powerful ethical value and may inhibit a would-be-whistleblower from coming forward. However, an example would be of where loyalty trumped higher ethical values, such as honesty and integrity, with the result being that financial fraud was not disclosed as it would have devastating results to shareholders.
We need to ensure that all workers are able to raise concerns about such issues early and effectively, as it is in everyone’s interests that suspected malpractice or wrong doing is dealt with properly. Speaking up promptly can make the difference between a disaster averted and long term damage to business and the wider public.
Is whistle blowing ethical or moral?
The most important consideration in assessing whether a whistleblower acts in an ethical manner is the intention for one’s action. Is it to right a wrong? Is it to give voice to one’s values in the face of countervailing forces? Or, is the basis for the action the pursuit of self-interests, which may manifest itself in blowing the whistle in order to cash in on the whistle-blower award? After all, greed is a powerful motivating force when considering whether to blow the whistle on financial wrongdoing.
An ethical person is one who possesses strong character traits built on courage and informed by the belief that integrity is the backbone of ethical decision-making. A would-be-whistleblower is willing to stand her ground even in the face of pressure from higher-ups to stay silent. It’s not because of the possibility of receiving a whistleblower’s award. Instead, the whistleblower believes in principled behavior and leads her life in accordance with ethical values.
Different theories are used to argue the ethics on whistle blowing
1.The Kantian theory instructs people to act in harmony with universally accepted rules telling the truth is at the heart of the deontological theory (Kant 1996). Kant however did not consider the self sacrifice that is often required in whistle blowing though it would be implied that Kant would want an individual to stand firm in telling the truth, regardless of personal outcome.
2.The virtue theory requires an individual to personify integrity and courage. (Adams, 2006: Bolsin et al, 2005) We use the example of a doctor working in a hospital. Reporting unethical colleague, or health care fraud requires the integrity found in professional character. The primary goal of a doctor is to remain loyal to providing relief to a patient in suffering. Turning a blind eye to practices that go against the primary aim would not only breach the doctor’s code of ethics but it would also...