Essay by derfaceUniversity, Bachelor'sA, September 2005

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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 reasons, it is important for society to maintain a level of support and encouragement towards whistleblowers, so that their often valuable contribution towards eliminating corporate wrongdoings can continue.

Employees who discover apparent wrongdoing within an organisation are faced with several options, each of which comprise of both negative and positive aspects.

Generally, a whistleblower may hesitate to report wrongdoings either internally or externally due to a fear of losing their job or being transferred to an undesirable location, being subjected to harassment and victimisation (Lewis, 1997), having their lifestyle, competence and mental health questioned, and becoming a focus of public attention, resulting in a loss of privacy (Criminal Justice Commission [CJC] 1999, p. 2). As well, they may struggle with a sense of disloyalty, where they inadvertently feel as if they are betraying their fellow colleagues or organisation if they report what they know. Larmer (1992 cited Jones 1996) states that a loyal employee will discern that any unethical behaviour can never be in the best interests of an organisation, and to ignore it with silence is in itself disloyal. Conversely, the final dilemma a whistleblower may face is one of personal loyalty, to...