It Is a Paper on Whistleblowing and Ethics Helplines in the 1modes of Managing Morality Model

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Whistleblowing and ethics helplines in the 1Modes of Managing Morality Model Leon J van Vuuren Department of Human Resource Management University of Johannesburg Abstract The Modes of Managing Morality (MMM) model provides a heuristic device to assist business ethics scholars and practitioners to make sense of the differences that exist in the ways in which different organisations manage their ethics. Although it is difficult to demonstrate a clear distinction between ethics advice and whistleblowing, these activities are often fused in organisations and the seeking of ethics advice may of necessity sometimes spill over to a need for whistleblowing. The extent and ways organisations are tolerant to and utilise ethics communication in each of these modes were illustrated in this paper. In particular, the varied prominence of whistleblowing and ethics advice facilities in each of the reactive (some whistleblowing), compliance (ethics advice supplementary to whistleblowing) and integrity (whistleblowing supplementary to ethics advice) modes were indicated. The seamless integration of ethics talk and ethics advice in the TAO-mode makes whistleblowing superfluous in this mode. The necessity for leaders and managers to acquire an ethics management competence that would, among others, allow them to actively engage in and encourage ethics talk, was emphasised. Keywords: Ethics, ethics talk, hotlines, help lines, help desk, whistleblowing, Modes of Managing Morality Model, compliance versus integrity, ethics management.

Leon van Vuuren is an industrial psychologist by profession and is currently a professor in the Department of Human Resource Management at the University of Johannesburg. He teaches, consults and conducts research in business and professional ethics and has published several articles in scientific journals. He co-authored (with Deon Rossouw) Business Ethics (3rd ed) published by Oxford University Press in 2004. He is also the editor of the African Journal of Business Ethics. Mailing address: Prof LJ van Vuuren Department of Human Resource Management, University of Johannesburg PO Box 524, Auckland Park 2006, Johannesburg, South Africa Tel. +27-11-559-2073; Fax +27-11-559-2095; Mobile +27-82-300-8113 e-mail:

Based on the model developed by Deon Rossouw and Leon van Vuuren: Rossouw, G.J. & Van Vuuren, L.J. (2003). Modes of managing morality: A descriptive model of strategies for managing ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 46(4), 389-402. 1


Introduction World-wide actions for moral reform to moderate the effects of the dark side of capitalism have been visible in last decade. Academic/scientific indicators to this effect have been the proliferation of research, books and articles in the field of business ethics and the growth of professional business ethics network organisations and societies around the globe. Global initiatives to encourage ethics in business have included the Caux Round Table principles for business conduct, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) guidelines, the activities of Transparency International and the Global Compact of the United Nations. In Africa, the continental Economic and Corporate Governance Initiative of NEPAD (The New Partnership for Africa’s Development) is an indication that governance is also an issue on this continent. Corporate governance laws and guidelines are being laid down in many countries. Examples of these are the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the US, the Combined Report on Corporate Governance in the UK and the Second King Report on Corporate Governance in South Africa. In this era of governance, the ethics of governance implies that organisations are ethically accountable to all their stakeholders. An integral dimension of the ethics of governance is the governance of ethics. The governance of ethics is the broad process whereby organisations, in a...
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