Is Whistle-Blowing Good for an Organization or Not?

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  • Topic: Whistleblower, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, Ford Motor Company
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  • Published : April 9, 2008
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Is Whistle-blowing Good for an Organization or Not?

This paper will explore whistle-blowing by giving a definition, a brief history of a couple of famous whistle-blowers, and how whistle-blowers have a positive effect in today’s business.

Origins of the Whistle-blower:

“The term whistleblower derives from the practice of English Bobbies (police officers) who would blow their whistle when they noticed the commission of a crime. The blowing of the whistle would alert both law enforcement officers and the general public of danger”. (wikipedia)

In more modern terms related to the business world, a whistleblower is an employee, former employee, of a business or government agency, who reports misconduct to people or entities that have the power and presumed willingness to take corrective action. (wikipedia) Generally, the wrongdoing is a violation of a law, a rule, a regulation, and/or a direct threat to public or shareholders. The whistle-blowing report may include; fraud, health or safety violations, corruption, or lack of concern for the law.

Brief History

Attitudes toward whistle-blowing have evolved considerably during the past 50 years in corporate America, from the early days of the "company man", where loyalty to the company was the norm, to the present time when public outrage about corporate misconduct has created a more positive climate for whistle-blowing.

Persons who blow the whistle generally do so out of a sense of public duty arising from high personal moral standard and the need to maintain professional integrity and standards. Because of the high personal risk attached to whistle-blowing, reporting is not taken lightly as whistle-blowers become vulnerable to unfavorable actions being taken against them by way of retaliation.

Prior to the 1960s, corporations had broad employee policies and could fire an employee at will. Employees were expected to be loyal to their organizations at all costs. Among the few exceptions to...
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