"Whistle Blowing" Essay

2162 words - 9 pages

Whistle blowing refers to the act of organisation members, either former or current, disclosing information on illegal and unethical practices within the organisation to parties internal or external to the organisation, who can take action. It is becoming increasingly common as more and more employees speak out about their ethical concerns. It cannot be denied that whistleblowing is accompanied by a range of problems, for both the whistleblower and the organisation. However, it can be argued that whistleblowing is an important and valid method of endeavoring to control possible unethical behaviour by organisations, as well as helping to establish a level of social responsibility. For these ...view middle of the document...

Nevertheless, obligations of confidentiality and loyalty ideally should not take precedence over the fundamental duty to act in a manner that prevents unnecessary harm to others.While these are all valid concerns, it is important for a whistleblower to concentrate on the positive aspects that reporting the wrongdoing can have. The CJC (1999, p. 32) states in its report that "over time, whistleblowing will increasingly be regarded as a normal workplace responsibility". When a whistleblower exposes the corrupt deeds of an organisation, they are not only acting ethically and responsibly, they are also serving to encourage those same qualities throughout the community. Other obvious benefits resulting from blowing the whistle include putting an end to the wrongdoing and those being disadvantaged by the wrongdoing, bringing to justice the individuals or organisation accountable for the wrongdoing, avoiding potential damage to the health and safety of the community, stopping potential damage to the environment, and creating an opportunity to implement improved internal practices in order to prevent wrongdoing in the future (CJC 1999, p. 2).Any potential whistleblower must realise that a well thought-out approach is both essential and practical. Firstly, be positive the situation is one that warrants whistle blowing. Secondly, carefully examine the motives behind the whistleblowing in order to ensure that they are genuine and can serve the public interest. Next, verify and document all information, as this will help to add further credence and strength to disclosures (CJC 1999, p. 13). Fourth, determine to whom the wrongdoing should be reported, and if the internal or external route is best. The allegations should then be stated in a clear, concise and objective manner. Lastly, ensure that all appropriate guidelines have been followed in reporting the wrongdoing. Coyne (2003) recommends consulting a well-informed lawyer in order to help a whistleblower determine the best course of action to take, as well as what protection is available to the whistleblower. The CJC (1999, p. 36) recommends that in order to sufficiently prepare themselves, potential whistleblowers need to understand that they may be unfairly vilified.There are many occurrences where whistleblowing has deflected considerable harm towards society. One such example illustrated by Jennings (2003), is that of Jerome J. LiCari, a former director of research and development for Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation. Due to the low cost of the apple product used in most of the organisation's fruit foods, Mr. LiCari suspected the apple product to be a chemical substitute. His concern prompted him to tour the supplier's facilities, where he found only a warehouse. Mr. LiCari reported his findings internally to the organisation's Purchasing Manager and Vice President of Operations, neither of whom took any action in the matter. However, Mr. LiCari would not be discouraged, and eventually determined that...

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