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Critical Issue Analysis Does Blowing The Whistle Violate Company Loyalty?

1562 words - 7 pages

Whistle blowing is informing on illegal and unethical practices in the workplace. It is becoming increasingly common as employees speak out about their ethical concerns at work. It can have disastrous consequences for the individual, as well as threatening the survival of the organization that is being complained about. In this issue, philosopher Sissela Bok asserts that although blowing the whistle is often justified, it does involve dissent, accusations, and a breach of loyalty to the employer. But on the other hand, Robert A. Larmer, an associate professor of philosophy, argues that attempting to stop illegal or unethical company activities may be the highest type of company loyalty an ...view middle of the document...

In addition to having the obligation to make money for stockholders, corporate executives have the obligation to see that these obligations are complied within an organization. They also have obligations to the company's employees, for example to maintain a safe working place. If corporate executives fail to fulfill obligations of the types mentioned, then that creates the need for whistle blowing.Just as the special obligations of corporate executives to stockholders cannot override their more fundamental obligations to others, the special obligations of employees to employer cannot override their more fundamental obligations. Such as obligations of confidentiality and loyalty cannot take precedence over the fundamental duty to act in ways that prevent unnecessary harm to others. Agreements to keep something secret have no moral standing unless the secret is itself morally justifiable. For example no person can have an obligation to keep a secret of a plot to murder someone, because murder is an immoral act. It is for this reason also that employeeshave a legal obligation to report an employer who has committed or is about to commit a felony. Although there are obvious differences between the situation of employees who work for government agencies and those who work for private firms, if we leave apart the special case in which national security was involved, then the same principles apply to both. The Codes of Ethics of Government Service to which all government employees are expected to conform requires that employees put loyalty to moral principles and the national interest above loyalty to the public parties or the agency for which they work. Neither can one justify participation in an illegal or immoral activity by arguing that one was merely following orders.It has also been argued that whistle blowing is always justified because it is an exercise of the right to free speech. But, the right to free speech is not perfect. An example: to shout "Fire" in a crowded theater because that is likely to cause a panic in which people may be injured. Similarly, one may have a right to speak out on a particular subject, in the sense that there are no contractual agreements which prohibit him/her from doing so, but it may be the case that it would be morally wrong for one to do so because it would harm innocent people, such as one's fellow workers and stockholders who are not responsible for the wrongdoing being disclosed. The fact that one has the right to speak out does not mean that one should do so in every case. But this kind of consideration cannot create an complete prohibition against whistle blowing because one must weigh the harm to fellow workers and stockholders caused by disclosure against the harm to others caused by allowing the organizational wrong to continue. Further more, the moral principles that you must consider all people's interestsequally prohibits giving preference to one's own group. So there must be considered justification...

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