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For Ethics & Corporate Governance Assignment Submission
Submitted By: Section A
2010008 2010025 2010039 2010040 2010055 Colin Menezes Nikhil Pachauri Raju kumar Ravi Agarwal Vibhor Ronge
a whistleblower who is concerned that the organization is dumping toxic water in lakes or streams might contact . a violation of a law. if necessary. which compared the act to the shrill sounding of a whistle piercing the background noise and disrupting the false harmony or imposed silence of the status quo. Whistle-blowing refers to ³disclosure by organization members (former or current) of illegal. At times employees are reluctant to report or disclose information of unethical behavior because of loyalty to the company or fear of having to deal with the matter and end up losing their job. law enforcement agencies. or illegitimate practices under the control of their employers. such as fraud. The purpose of whistle blowing and reporting the wrongful action is to improve society and not let employers get away with doing the wrong thing. rule. for example. Such things those are unethical to society or to the corporation. employees are sometimes subject to see things they should not see.Whistleblowing A Whistleblower is a person who raises a concern about alleged wrongdoing occurring in a government or governmental entity or a private or public corporation or an organization or agency that is expected. A lot of people love where they work and do not want to be labeled ³snitches´. to other people within the accused organization) or externally (to regulators. The term ³whistle-blowing´ originates from the practice of British policemen who blew their whistles whenever they observed commission of a crime. to be operating within the bounds of the law. regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest. to the media or to groups concerned with the issues). y The more serious act is that of external whistleblowers who go outside the company with their concerns. For example. The disclosure of information outside of one¶s organization was the original meaning of the term µwhistleblowing¶. immoral. An employee is then placed in a situation where the employee must decide what action should be taken. There are two kinds of whistleblowers. by the public at large. to persons or organizations that may be able to effect action´. Corporate World: Working in the corporate or government environment. y Internal whistleblowers who believe their superior might be engaged in wrongful conduct bring their concerns up through the chain of command in the organization all the way to the board of directors. Whistleblowers may make their allegations internally (for example. health/safety violations. and corruption. The alleged misconduct may be classified in many ways.
unless there is a legal obligation to report. there have been occasions when the role of whistle blower has actually catapulted people into higher office and has earned the respect of constituents. The main ethical dilemma of whistleblowing is the clash of values. . marginalizing or even forcing him or her out of office. Types of misconduct whistle blowers can report: Illegal or unlawful conduct Unprocedural conduct Unethical conduct Wasteful conduct Benefits: Increases safety and well-being of organization Reinforces organization¶s code of ethics Reduces organizational waste and mismanagement The decision to blow the whistle on a colleague. Even though laws are supposed to protect whistle blowers from retaliation. at a deep level. professional standards. unsuccessfully. can come from it. especially courage. family and friends.the Environmental Protection Agency if nothing is done internally to correct the matter. that an action his or her organization is taking is harmful²that it interferes with people¶s rights or is unfair or detracts from the common good. for example. loyalty to clients or to one¶s own integrity versus loyalty to the organization. The tension between the need to prevent abuses and preserve trust is an important tension point in whistleblowing and a major source of ambiguity. an associate or an employer is never an easy one. people who feel threatened by the revelations can ostracize the whistle blower. However. all appropriate channels within the organization. as standing up for principles can be a punishing experience. On the other hand. it should be considered a step one takes when all else has failed. the general public. Whistleblowing and Ethics Whistle blowing has to do with ethics because it represents a person¶s understanding. Whistle blowing also calls upon the virtues. and thus ceases to be a virtue because harm. at times loyalty to peers and the organization can be blind or misplaced. rather than good. A genuine case of external whistleblowing requires that the whistleblower have utilized.
whistleblowing seems to be an act of extreme disloyalty. for example. In such a case. This a question of making an ethical judgment about which principle ought to be given priority. Does the senior management or the general public have a right to know about the particular unethical behaviour that is of concern? The answer would seem to be a qualified yes. The question of whether or not it is ethically permissible for an employee to blow the whistle. be in terms of product safety or severe financial hardship for others. It puts at risk the reputation of the firm. confidentiality or the right to know. Genuine loyalty requires the exercise of judgment to discover what is truly in another¶s best interests. whether whistleblowers ought be protected. . This could. In fact sometimes there can be a duty to do so. whether it is ever obligatory. Individuals often want things that are not really in their best interests. But this seems to be based on a narrow view of loyalty as if it demands that we do whatever the company or another individual believes to be in their best interest. Another issue is employee loyalty. particularly in the public domain. It would be obligatory for an employee to blow the whistle when the level of harm to others is serious. There is no black and white answer to cover all cases.A whistleblower must blow the whistle for the right moral reason and reasoning. If employees owe strict loyalty to the company. raises questions of confidentiality and loyalty. before an obligation to go public could be imposed. and the employee has clear evidence of the unethical practice that has led to this. The ethics of whistleblowing tend to focus on the following: y y y whether it is morally permissible. Loyalty cannot imply that we should not report the unethical behavior of others. It is not an act of disloyalty to refuse them. depending on the seriousness of the matter and the harm likely to result from continued silence or revelation. it would require the judgement that there was no simpler solution.
The whistleblower ascertains that blowing the whistle most likely will cause more good than harm to client(s). The whistleblower thoroughly investigates the situation and is confident that the facts are as she/he understands them. check to see the amount of protection provided for whistleblowers. 4. strong moral justification must exist for blowing the whistle and. as well as relevant facts. Thus. 2. 3. clients will not be retaliated against because of the whistleblowing. the whistleblower should have an established reputation for high integrity lest his or her personal characteristics detract from the issues. The whistleblower morally justifies his/her course of action by appeals to ethical theories. or for revenge? be sure of the exact nature of the problem and to whom it should be reported. despite the likely ostracism or resulting penalties. examine your motives: is it in the public interest. 5. The whistleblower understands that her/his primary loyalty is to client(s) unless other compelling moral reasons override this loyalty. and . ideally. a person's or an organization's life or death may result from it. that is. The reason the whistleblower is blowing the whistle is because he/she sees a grave injustice or wrongdoing occurring in his/her organization that has not been resolved despite using all appropriate channels within the organization. consult a lawyer. indicates that there are people within the community who take harm to the community and their sense of ethical obligation very seriously. principles. Moral Justification for Whistleblowing Whistleblowing should not be a capricious matter. The following are considered some necessary conditions that should be established before one undertakes blowing the whistle: 1. Those who perform such a service for the community deserve to be protected. The fact of whistleblowing.Some practical suggestions before blowing the whistle are: y y y y y y make sure the situation is serious enough to warrant going to superiors or going public. But to get involved often requires courage as well as deep convictions. stick to facts: avoid personalising the issue. or other components of ethics.
To Prevent Whistleblowing. III. V. The whistleblower understands the seriousness of his/her actions and is ready to assume responsibility for them.6. The OBJECTIVES of an internal whistleblowing program should be: To encourageemployees to bring ethical and legal violations they are aware of To minimize organization's exposure to the damage that can occur when employees circumvent internal mechanisms To let employees know the organization is seriousabout adherence to codes of conduct BARRIERSto a successful internal whistleblowing program could be: Lack of trust in the internal system Unwillingness of employees Misguided union solidarity Belief that management is not held to the same standard Fear of retaliation or alienation from peers Steps for Creating a Whistle-blowing Culture I. Create a Policy Get Endorsement From Top Management Publicize the Organization's Commitment Investigate and Follow Up Assess the Organization's Internal Whistleblowing System Organizations will have to institute rigorous policies to allow employees to bring unethical and illegal practices to the forefront. IV. but it is certainly necessary given the increased public scrutiny of corporate behavior. II. Companies will have to train managers and executives on how to encourage openness. Putting processes in place will not be quick. An organization that does not support those that whistle blow because of the violation of professional standards is indicative of a failure of organizational ethics. organizations should start an internal whistleblowing program. .
our society will continue to be in danger. dismissal or death threats. whistleblowers provide society with justice and hope for protecting the need for ethical behavior. To encourage whistle-blowing. This should encourage employees to inform someone with the ability to do something about the problem. Guidance will need to reflect the circumstances of individual employers. their organizations must make it safe for them to blow the whistle The internal accountability of an organization can be enhanced by adopting threepronged strategy: Provision of ethics training for all its staff Punishing staff who violate its code of ethics Establishing an internal whistle-blowing mechanism with safeguards to protect whistle-blowers In conclusion. but should make the following clear: .Safeguards of whistleblowers Potential whistle-blowers will not report internally if they fear reprisals within organization or suspect that the management condoned or approved the illegal activity. Does it constitute a valid system of correcting wrongs in Corporations and society? Corporations: What a whistleblowing policy should contain Employers should make clear to employees what to do if they come across malpractice in the workplace. whistle-blowers must be protected: Genuine whistle-blowers must be adequately protected to encourage them to report wrongdoing in the organization Whistleblowers who make false allegations should be punished As whistle-blowers face retaliation. ostracism. Without these people stepping up and doing the right things.
again be difficult to draw in practice. however. y y y y It is preferable to deal with whistleblowing separately rather than as an extension to or part of an existing grievance procedure. As outlined in Chapter 1. As discussed in Chapter 1. An employee¶s personal grievance could be indicative of a larger breakdown in organisational procedures (whether or not this is known to them). The distinction can. the whistleblower may have no grievance in relation to their terms and conditions or indeed in relation to the employer. Whistleblowing as opposed to personnel or workplace grievances The second threshold distinction is the subject matter of the wrongdoing²in particular. In more serious cases (for example. if the allegation is about the actions of their line manager). or is likely to happen). Employees will not be penalised for informing management about any of the specified actions. if a report is only in the latter category. while cross-referencing procedures on discipline and grievances. whether it constitutes a matter of potential public interest or involves only matters of personal or private interest to the reporter.y The kinds of action targeted by the legislation are unacceptable and the employer attaches importance to identifying and remedying malpractice (specific examples of unacceptable behaviour should usually be included). an employee could be aware of a matter of serious public interest but reveals it only after a personal . bypassing lower levels of management. Employees should inform their line manager immediately if they become aware that any of the specified actions is happening (or has happened. In addition. it is more accurately categorised as a personal grievance than a whistleblowing matter. Whistleblowers can ask for their concerns to be treated in confidence and such wishes will be respected. This is partly because the scale of risk to the organisation and to the employee will generally be significantly greater in whistleblowing cases than in other matters. the employee should feel able to raise the issue with a more senior manager. many reports of wrongdoing involve a personal grievance and matters of broader organisational or public integrity.
Only when we understand this inherent conflict will we truly understand what is going on in our organizations. is to assert the social conscience in the midst of the organization. even when the wrongdoing observed does not include matters classified in Appendix 2 and the earlier tables as µpersonnel or workplace grievances¶. Rather. The table indicates the frequency with which the specified conflicts were present in the experience or opinion of: a) all those who volunteered for the internal witness survey. By retaliating. the whistleblower is one who appears to remember that there is an outside. The organization. When the ideal self confronts the organization's desire to be self-sufficient. in addition to whatever public interest issues might be involved. This person is not so much one who goes outside the organization. challenges this sense. To be a whistleblower. power. the organization declares that there is a certain type of person it cannot stand in its midst. To be a whistleblower is to set one way of thinking about the sacred. and e) case-handlers from integrity agencies. c) case-handlers and d) managers from the same group of case study agencies. and family to stay true to self. is constitutionally unable to deal with insiders who challenge its sense of self-sufficiency (autarky). b) internal witnesses whose observed wrongdoing did not include µpersonnel or workplace grievances¶. It shows that in any view of the situation. against another sacred element.grievance arises (whether or not related to the public interest matter). Alford concludes. or an employee could raise a public interest matter but receive an initial response that immediately gives rise to a personal grievance (causing the two issues thereafter to travel in tandem). a range of interpersonal conflicts is sometimes or often likely to be present.7 sets out how often a variety of conflicts appears to precede or accompany the making of reports. Taking misconduct public. Table 2. or even bringing concerns of the public inside the organization. then. Only when we understand this inherent conflict will we truly understand what is going on with the whistleblower. home. whistleblowers blow the whistle because they dread living with a corrupted self more than they dread the isolation . What we learn about organizations from whistleblowers The organization creates the whistleblower by its responses. the whistleblower must make the "choiceless choice" and risk sacrificing career. In sum. the conscience collective. The frequency with which public interest concerns are mixed with personal conflicts is confirmed by responses to the case study and integrity agency surveys.
In India and United States. falsifying records and bending of rules/regulations plays a crucial role. Conduct of a public official. the whistle blowers among the public servants attract much greater public sympathy and support while whistle blowers in the private sector have a tragic fate. dangerous and improper conduct and or activities. A new trait of administrative culture in many developing countries is discernable. Irish Republic and New Zealand. privileges. They advocate that public disclosures made to proper authorities should have public interest in mind and consists of Conduct constituting an offence under any legislation. Several studies have shown that most whistle blowers come to total grief. Laws in the USA seek to protect such whistle blowers from the disciplinary and administrative consequences of their public interest revelations ±though not from criminal consequences. Chairman of the Committee of Standards in Public Life (1995). misuse of public funds. which they believe to be contrary to the public interest. in civil service. Conduct that constitutes official misconduct within the meaning of the criminal justice. There is an urgent need in India to establish internal procedures for public interest disclosures and to protect employees making such disclosures against reprisals. which constitutes negligent.Whistle Blower Doctrine Some thinkers are suggesting and exploring the desirability of a legislation to protect persons disclosing illegal. which constitutes misconduct or criminal act punishable as a disciplinary breach. public interest whistle blowers are in a weak position and may find themselves punished under the reformed official Secrecy Laws. incompetent or inefficient management of or within a public sector unit resulting or likely to result directly or indirectly in a substantial waste of public funds. they are sacked. favors. Conduct of a public official. Standards of ethics in public service statutes exist in the USA. the existence of a parallel ³black administration´ where influence. Lord Nolan. Whistle blowers are needed to expose such practices in developing countries. demoted and socially ostracized ³as men who let down their comrades. A substantial and specific serious health danger to the life and safety of the public or to the environment. money. made very important recommendations prescribing a set of standards to be followed in public life. He wrote to the Prime Minister of UK in May 1995 requesting that statutory recognition may be given to those recommendations. Even today in UK. Various case studies carried out in the past indicate that by and large whistle blowers are unhappy and miserable .
In the Enron case one of the middle level managers was able to point out that things were not all right. Develop a plan of action. If the top management itself is corrupt. consider the personal costs and the likely response of allies and antagonists within and outside the organization. 2. Changes that may take place in the highly internet media driven society in light of Wiki leaks type of exposures In light of the wiki leaks types of exposures. Identify precisely not only the objectionable activity but also the public interest or interests that is or are threatened and the magnitude of harm that will result from non-disclosure. Whistle blowing may result in violating employee¶s employment contract or may be violating any ethical rules affecting external parties and its likely response from inside and outside the organization. Research in the USA on whistle blowing is in turmoil.lot who usually end their lives tragically. violation of laws or corrupt practices. 3. then it may not encourage whistle blowers. Strategies for successful whistle blowing Whistle blowing can be successful only when the whistle blower has adequate knowledge about the irregularities. Identify ethical standards as well as laws and regulations that support your decision to blow the whistle. and how the public interest is affected. the society may start perceiving the value of a person or firms on the basis of the information and opinions formed on the internet and blogging sites. 2. The five practical tips for a whistle blower are: 1. 4. It can be an excellent medium of influencing the public opinion towards the wrong doings taking place across the globe. Wikileaks or similar sites may actually help in creating awareness among the people about the kind of diplomacy taking place in the back offices and loop holes in the political . Verify accuracy of your knowledge of the situation or entire episode before blowing the whistle. unsure of the consequences of newer laws protecting whistle blowers. 3. which are being committed. business or judicial system. This may have following positive effects:1. Whistle blowers must understand what can be achieved by whistle blowing. Select an appropriate outside contact. Internet being accessible from almost everywhere may bring together people having interest in exposing the wrongdoings together and may provide them a . 5. Whistle blowers help in exposing corporate frauds.
5. 4. 2. It will give rise to several ³me too´ sites trying to bask in the glory of the wikileaks by providing similar contents and in doing so may compromise the quality of information. The leaks may bring out the details of the facts and thereby help in influencing opinions of the internet users. 4. 6. 7. These leaks may actually lead to exposure of sensitive data like the one related with country¶s defense establishments and may be used by terrorists to plot their nasty schemes. These sites can also be used by the rivals in businesses to malign the competitors by spreading false rumors about them and hence gaining an upper hand in the competition by unethical means. it will lead to over exposure of the information thereby leading to loss of public interest in such leaks. government may try to curb flow of information by putting on restrictions on these sites. 1.platform to form their own groups and spread their message across the geographies with in few minutes or seconds. This will create a kind of self-governance and help in implementing moral ethics . These sites may be used by hostile countries and governments to create malicious counter political campaigns against the persons or entities trying to expose the loop holes or the short comings of the government. we can¶t neglect the negative effects of such a system in exploiting public opinion. Based on the gravity of the situation. This will also alert the government officials or office bearers that they are not above the law and their actions can be questioned if leaked on internet. . 3. Though there are several positive sides of the wikileaks. Also due to rise of several similar sites . 5. The increased competition among these sites may force them to plant false stories of whistle blowing thereby indicting innocent persons.
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