Normative Theories on Ethics on Whistle-Blowing

Topics: Ethics, Normative ethics, Business ethics Pages: 8 (2699 words) Published: March 2, 2013
Normative theory and whistle-blowing
Whistle-blowing in this context is the act, for an employee, disclosing what he believes to be an unethical or illegal behaviour to higher management (internal whistle-blowing) or to an external authority or the public (external whistle-blowing). Examples of unethical acts include sexual harassment and racial discrimination at work while illegal act include the accounting fraud by the Arthur-Andersen accountants for Enron (Sims & Brinkmann 2003).

Whistle-blowing is a controversial issue whereby the duties of employees towards the society, organization and self are often in a conflict of interest. Whistle-blowing is a moral obligation towards professionalism and the interest of the public (Bouville 2008).While at the same time, whistleblowing though being a duty towards professional ends and morals to protect the public, constitutes a violation of duty to one's employer (Larmer 1992).

In the United States, a study done from 1994–2005 employee willingness to report wrongdoings in 2005 a mere 55% in general, reason being that many employees are hesitant to report their findings of ethical misconduct. Of which 59% believed no corrective action would be taken, 46% fear retaliation, 39% fear anonymity, 24% assumed someone else would report it and 18% did not know who to contact (Ethics Research Centre, 2005). The most recent report in 2011 shows this percentage having increased to 70% willingness to report wrongdoings since. Of which the highest proportion goes to simple acts of theft of company resources (70%) and lowest to whistleblowing employee conducting personal business affairs during company time (34%) (Ethics Research Centre, 2011).

In Turkey, according to a study by Nayir & Herzi (2012) of 327 turkish managers working at different levels in private businesses in the summer of 2009 show that anonymous-external whistleblowing is the preferred choice of whistleblowing as the whistle-blower whether his orientation is towards individualism or collectivism would prefer to be hidden in their organization and generally are shown statistically to not like to share their observations of wrongdoing they will be ostracized in the organization (Qusqas & Kleiner 2001; Tesser & Rosen 1975).

According to the Singapore Institute of directors’ survey in 2007, 70% of companies in Singapore have whistleblowing policies in place. (Peter & Dione 2011). Prior to this report a year before, in the Deutsche Press-Agentur (2006) it was stated that publicly listed Singapore companies have placed whistle-blowing procedures for internal whistle-blowing however it is noted that few companies have introduced measures to protect informants from retaliations.

The Singapore Code of corporate governance was created by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in 2007 to set a regulatory and supervisory framework for Singapore listed companies. Under the ruling of the MAS, it suggests that companies should disclose all whistleblowing practices under guideline 12.7 and to give explanations for deviations from the Code in the company Annual reports (Monetary Authority of Singapore, 2013).

As Scott (2000) states, whistle-blowing constitutes a positive duty where the whistle-blower should aim to not harm others while working towards benefiting the public interest. Whist whistle-blowing creates a conflict of role-related obligations and general obligations as members of workplace organization, society and our social and family units (Frey & Wellman 2008). To develop clarity on the issue, I will be applying normative ethical theories to demonstrate the various teleological and deontological theories in action. As my insights, I will be covering the issue of whether there should be a law in place to protect whistle-blowers.

Main Body
Whistle-blowing is an ethical dilemma because of its wide reaching implications to all parties involved through the action of the...
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