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Whistleblowing Essay

3746 words - 15 pages

Whistleblowing: Necessary Evil or Good Thing
Maureen Haley
University of North Carolina – Asheville
April 16, 2014

This paper was prepared for Management 484-001, taught by Professor Donald D. Lisnerski

Whistleblowing: Necessary Evil or Good Thing
Is whistleblowing a necessary evil or good thing? Can whistleblowing be avoided? Can the whistleblower be protected? “A whistleblower is an employee who discovers corporate misconduct and chooses to bring it to the attention of others.”(Ghillyer, 2014) Whistleblowers can be viewed as providing a praiseworthy act or be severely labeled as informers who have breached the loyalty of their co-workers and company. Whistleblowing can be a ...view middle of the document...

.Sharon Watkins, vice president of Enron in 2001 wrote two emails to the chairman of Enron stating “that is only a matter of time before the company’s creative accounting treatment would be discovered, and bring the entire organization down.” (Ghillyer, 2014).
Whistleblowers need legal protection. Whistleblowing is dangerous and organizations and people should try to get the benefits of whistleblowing without having to pay an enormous price. “Whether you believe whistleblowers to be heroes who face considerable personal hardship to bring the harsh light of media attention to the unethical behavior, or you take the opposing view that they are breaking the oath of loyalty to their employer, the fact remains that employees are becoming increasing willing to respond to any questionable behavior they observe in the workplace.” (Ghillyer, 2014)
There have been quite a few historic whistleblowers in the United States who felt that had a duty to respond. The movie industry portrayed many employee good guys against the company bad guys. The films such as The China Syndrome, Silkwood, On the Waterfront, Erin Brockovich, The Harder They Fall, Serpico, All the President's Men, Prince of the City, The Firm, The Insider, The Constant Gardener, North Country, Michael Clayton, Semper Fi: Always Faithful, and We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks are based on true and heart wrenching whistleblowing stories.
Whistleblowing interests me because the world can be a hard place and being a whistleblower is difficult on the person and the organization. Whistleblowing encourages the truth for consumer safety and health. The whistleblower faces many risks: they can lose their source of income and insurance, there is emotional and mental cost to the whistleblower and family, friends may snub you and other may retaliate. Whistleblowers pay a high price, and we all need to care about whistleblowing: how to not blame the messenger, how to help individuals and organizations avoid whistleblowing.
Literature Review
In Alford, C. F. (2000) researched many whistleblower stories, attended retreats, and support groups for whistleblowers. Alford reported that most whistleblowing research is on whistleblowers who have strong morals and stand up for what is true. They suffer retaliation and while some are vindicated other are not. But even for the whistleblowers who in the end are not successful, they know they did the right thing. They are glad they reported unethical behavior and feel better for the experience even though they suffered great personal lost. But almost all would do it again. Alford reported on whistleblowers who are mentally and spiritually broken, and if they had to do it again they might not blow the whistle. Some were unsure whether they would either speak up again or just stroke out. The article reveals valuable information about how the whistleblower feels, if they would do it again, and their trials and tribulations. Consider the case of John Brown; he...

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