6.2 Discussion: The Ethics of Whistleblowing

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What do you do when you become aware of an ethical lapse on the part of your organization? Increasingly, the answer is to call the whistleblowing hotline and collect on the reward offered to those who provide tips that result in successful prosecution. However, what if the organization itself is not aware of the issue because it results from the malfeasance of an individual? What is the ethical action to take then? What if it is not clear if the ethical lapse is illegal? This assignment will prepare you to answer these questions should you be faced with the issue of whistle blowing in the future.

Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:

  • Evaluate ethical responses to potential whistleblowing situations.
  • Examine challenges faced by leaders in crises.

Resources

  • Textbook: Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership
  • Website: Whistleblower Protection

Background Information

Partially because of the actions of leadership at Enron, Adelphia Cable, and other companies, federal regulators have been promoting rewards to those who report ethical wrong-doing by their organizations; those who do so are called whistleblowers. Whistleblowing has many challenges, both ethical and operational. A review of recent cases of reported whistleblowing show that fewer than 10% of reported charges result in successful prosecution; those individuals who made the charge are often fired and occasionally black-balled within the industry. Whistleblowers often violate confidentially agreements and loyalty, and sever relationships. Additionally, whistleblowing can lead to negative consequences for many who had no knowledge or participation in the ethical violation.

What is the ethical manager to do when faced with a possible violation? This assignment will help prepare you for such a situation.


Instructions

  1. Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
  2. Read Chapter 12 in the textbook Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership. As you read, think about the types of crises that organizations face and ethical issues that may occur as a result of these crises.
  3. Review the United States Department of Labor website on Whistleblower Protection.
  4. Conduct a search using the Off Campus Library Service OCLS for one incident of employee whistleblowing that resulted in a successful prosecution and payment of a reward to the whistleblower.
  5. Navigate to the threaded discussion and respond to the following:
    1. Summarize and evaluate the instance of employee whistleblowing identified in the article you found (post a link to your article).
      1. Based on your evaluation, was whistleblowing the appropriate ethical action?
      2. Provide a detailed evaluation that demonstrates clear, insightful critical thinking.
    2. React to the following statement:
      1. Crises reveal the true character of leaders and their organizations.
      2. Provide a detailed evaluation that demonstrates clear, insightful critical thinking.
  6. Your initial post should be 400 to 500 words in length and include two scholarly sources that are properly cited according to APA guidelines. For questions on APA Style, go to OCLS APA Writing Styles Guides.
  7. Your initial post is due by the end of the fourth day of the workshop.
  8. Read and conduct a critical analysis of postings by two of your classmates by the end of the workshop.
    1. Your discussion response should address the following:
      1. Based on the example of whistleblowing identified by your classmate, determine what the likely positive and negative outcomes of the whistleblowing for society, the organization being reported, the customers and employees of the organization, and the whistleblower.
      2. Given these outcomes, was the reward to the whistle blower fair and equitable?
    2. Each response should be at least 250 words and cite two scholarly sources using APA formatting.

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