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What Is Whistle Blowing, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1426

Essay

George has been working in Steel Ltd for close to eight years now. In the past three years he has earned himself a nickname from colleagues and everyone refers to him as ‘steel radio’. This name came after George was promoted and given the responsibility of reporting wrong doing or any misconduct in the company. No one does anything that could be termed as improper. As a result, many people in the company do not like being around George due to the fear of saying stuff that might be wrong. He is used to finding groups of co-workers whispering and keeping quiet the moment they see him. George has reported a few cases and they have not only gained him a salary but also rivals. He even gets people reporting about false things about him in an attempt to get back at him. George is a whistle blower.

Just from the word, a whistle blower sounds like a person who calls for attention. Wikipedia (n.d) states about the originality of the term ‘whistle blower’ which is said to have been from the practice of English Bobbies where upon noticing a crime, policemen would blow their whistles. A whistleblower as described by Kietzman (2010) is either a current or a past employee who works within an organization to report misconduct. The time of the improper act may either be a past thing or even a present that is still going on. The misconduct that has been revealed by the whistleblower may be grouped differently. It could either be an act against the law, something that directly affects the public or even a violation of a policy of the organization.

Whistle blowers can either be internal or external. An internal wind blower is different from the external wind blower in that his area of work is within the organization such as he reports to a superior about an employee or in whatever order depending on how the chain of command is and to whom he is answerable to. The external wind blower on the other hand, has a broader jurisdiction because he reports the wrong doers to a body that is outside. These bodies might include a lawyer, government office, media or any agency that is responsible for protecting matters. This therefore means that for a person to make a good wind blower, he or she needs to have good reporting skills, should know how to air their grievances, how to get insider information and have a tactic of getting people to help them watch.

The whistle blower needs to know when to blow the whistle or the circumstances that should lead to blowing the whistle. The Office of the President (2008) came up with list of wrongs and instances on when the employees should blow the whistle in the University of California. The commission can be alerted on acts violating the law such as fraud, deliberate omission to perform one’s duty, misuse of the organization’s property, bribery, corruption, coercion, waste of economic resources, total misconduct, inability to be efficient, lack of competence and any other behaviour that might threaten the public or other employees in terms of health and safety.

Another way to identify the circumstances that would lead to whistle blowing are by use classes where each wrong doing is put into a class of its own and the whistle blower decides on the magnitude with which he would report the act with. Some of these classes include conflict of interest, improper behaviour, misconduct for material gain, defective administration, mismanagement of resources, grievances involving the workplace and personnel, accountability of justice perversion and reprisals against whistleblowers.

Wortley, Cassemtis & Donkin (n.d.) even give examples of these wrongdoings. Some of these include using official position for services, favouring unfairly, improper private use of public facilities and making false claims to be reimbursed all under misconduct for material gain. Improper behaviour; being drunk at work, sexual harassment or assault, visiting pornography sites during work time and discrimination. Conflict of interest would include intervening for a friend or relative to make a decision on their behalf and failure of financial interest declaration. Other examples would randomly be covering up poor performance, corruption, allowing dangerous or harmful conditions at work, not following the correct staff procedures, among others.

Employees in general owe a duty of loyalty to the organization. The whistle blower is most of the times given the task of a whistle blower because of their loyalty. This loyalty could sometimes bring a controversy in matters concerning the organization. The whistle blower would sometime be torn between a hard place and a rock in matters concerning disclosure of company information. In a case where misconduct has been noted there is need to report about the employer company, the whistle blower also owes loyalty and it would be unethical if he would decline because he needs to execute his duties with absolute diligence. The role of a whistle blower would lose its essence because his duty is to act in good faith of all the parties.

Boisjoly (2008) was a loyal employee and he is known to have tried to explain to people about the condition of the space shuttle before they lost the space craft but no one seemed to understand. He is said to have received a cold shoulder and wrong treatment from colleagues and e ended up quitting from the company. Watkins (2009) used to be considered a whistle blower by many but cannot actually be remarked s one. The Enron scandal, which was uncovered by Watkins by using an internal email to the company’s CEO. This was later distinguished from whistle blowing and considered as a plan to legally cover the CEO.

The other roles of a whistle blower are:

  • Compiling comprehensive reports that show all the relevant matters and could even show the importance of a detailed investigation if need arises.
  • Maintenance of their confidentiality.
  • Cooperation with all other investigations that haves started the policy.
  • Act in all good ways to avoid allegations.
  • To receive complains and record them whenever they relate to has area if duty
  • Working closely with the head of Law and the CEO and making recommendations
  • Annual reporting to the seniors or relevant authorities.

The question of where the whistle blowers report is based on whether the whistle blower is internal or an external whistle blower. In a case of an internal whistle blowing, he will report to an employee or supervisor. While an external whistle blower will report to media, the government n perhaps the law.

Relevate (2005) came up with to ensure an effective program for whistle blowers. These include:

  • Determine various concerns and the risks faced by employees so that the whistle can be blown when appropriate.
  • Determine the range of issues to be reported.
  • An employee-designed program that is convenient.
  • Creating a program that clearly coveys zero tolerance.
  • Encouragement of reporting so as to perfect the act.
  • Resource allocation to the program.
  • Promotion of the program by publicizing in small ways like chatting online and calling through a toll free number.

Whistle blowing would result is so many things both positive and negative. Initially, the whistle blower might have had different expectations which are definitely the positive effects in case it is successful. For example, satisfaction at work, helping the co-workers, improving the trust employees has on the management, behaviour of organizational citizens, to improve the industry and portray loyalty. After having the expectations, the whole idea might be supported, rejected or given very little support by the management, law or the co-workers.

Some of the negative consequences involve:

  • The whistle blower becomes secluded and a loner because no one wants to be associated to him.
  • Reprisal from co-workers
  • No positive outcome from the investigation
  • Rival groups in the organization
  • Loss of job
  • Stagnation at work. Because there is no promotion or even salary increment.
  • Loss of opportunities in research. Less staff support
  • Lots of pressure and delay because of the hassle.
  • The wrong acts could sometime be directed to the whistle blower.

Whistle blowing should therefore be undertaken by someone who understands the consequences.

References

Boisjoly, Roger (2008). “Ethical Decisions – Morton Thiokol and the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster: Telecon Meeting”. onlineethics.org. Retrieved on February 14, 2010 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Boisjoly

Kietzman S. (2010). What is a Whistleblower? Retrieved on February 14, 2010 from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-whistleblower.htm

Office of the President (2008). Questions about employee whistleblowers. Retrieved on February 14, 2010 from http://ucwhistleblower.ucop.edu/faqd.html

Relevate (2005). Will Corporate employees Blow the Whistle on serious Fraud? Retrieved on February 14, 2010 from http://www.relevante.com/images/audit_whitepapaprs/corporate_fraud/Jul05_Wcebwsf.pdf

Watkins, S. (2009). Sherron Watkins. Retrieved on February 14, 2010 from http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Sherron_Watkins

Wikipedia (n.d). Whistle blower.  Retrieved on February 14, 2010 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistleblower

Wortley R., Cassemtis P. & Donkin M. (n.d). Who blows the whistle, who doesn’t and why? Whistleblowing in the Australian Public Sector. Retrieved on February 14, 2010 from http://epress.anu.edu.au/anzsog/whistleblowing/mobile_devices/ch03.html

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