whistle blowing- business ethics

Whistle blowing


Nowadays working in the government or corporate environments employees may sometimes be subjected to see things they are not supposed to see or things which are not supposed to be done. Some of those things are always unethical to the corporation or even to the society as a whole. Then as an employee you are at that time placed in a situation whereby you are supposed to decide what kind of an action you are supposed to take. At that point  you are always in dilemma, that is do you report the things which seems unethical to the management or it is the time to let it go in order to avoid the risk of being sacked or in an action to protect your co-workers or the company from disciplinary action taken against them. Thus whistle blowing involve the act of an employee’s disclosure to the press, government agencies or even upper management authorities or any act in which the employer informs the public about any immoral or illegal behavior of the organization or employer (Miethe, 1999). At times a great number of employees will tend to be reluctant to take any action of reporting their employer or even engage in any activity of disclosing any unethical behavior information mainly because of their loyalty to the company as well as fearing to be held accountable as well as dealing with the matter or being labeled a snitch or traitor at workplace.

Being in such kind of a position, which is a manager in MBI Computer Company as well as faced by such a situation the best thing I can do, is to uphold justice, integrity as well as professional ethics. Thus, I will not bother being branded a snitch or traitor but I will definitely apply the ethical principles in order to face the obstacle hence whistle blowing will the best thing to do on the basis of virtue ethics since the company is engaging itself in unethical as well as inhuman conduct by the virtue of utilizing cheap and illegal child labor as well a exposing the children to risk by letting them work in dangerous conditions. The philosophical view of justice is rooted in one’s belief that everyone should be treated equitably, but there have been numerous philosophers who have offered interpretation to justice in relation to conformity with law, differing cultures, and political environments. Hence in order to justify my actions of blowing the whistle I will definitely use the ethical theories to explain my case. Then I can use the utilitarian, Kantian, virtue ethics and relativist theories to justify the above stated action which I could take.

Utilitarian ethical theory

Firstly, the ethical theory of utilitarian always provides a very powerful justification to blow the whistle in case something unethical is taking place thus leading to the maximization of the benefit of the human as well as minimizing the harm. The theory also provides and also describes the situations when whistle blowing becomes required morally, and this is always for the good of the society. For instance, when the organization or company to which the whistle blower belongs to in case of an internal whistle blower is doing a considerable serious harm to the to the public either through its products or policies(Miceli, 1992). In this case the MBI is doing a lot of harm to the society as well as going against the international rules and regulations which illegalize use of child labor. Also despite using the child labor which is not only cheap but illegal, the company also poses a very great risk to them by exposing them to work in the dangerous condition at the expense of their well being hence this translates to exploitation. Being in a managerial position then I will be in a position to understand the companies policies towards such kind injustices hence I will be in a position to confront the management in order to express my feelings on the matter, if they pose an objection or if am convinced nothing effective will be done then they will no other option. This will also be preceded by the exhaustion of any internal procedures which are there in the organization for instance addressing the issue to the top most management for any action which is relevant to be taken.  Also before I blow the whistle I shall have gathered enough evidence that is capable of convincing any impartial and reasonable observer that my view of the actions of the company as a threat to the society to be correct. The other point which would convince me to blow the whistle based on the utilitarian ethical theory, is that upon examining the whole situation I shall be having very good reasons which makes me believe that revealing the company’s unethical activities which are a threat to the society would probably help to prevent the continuity of the harm at a considerable cost when all the things are taken into consideration. For example, I as the whistle blower I may be subjected to unfair treatment by the management as well as other consequences which I might be subjected to, whereas the co-workers might be forced to brand me a traitor or a snitch as a result of my revelations. The investors of MBI will also have to incur some cost in terms of reputation decline as well as increased cost of production after the cheap and illegal labor is revealed to the public. Also the laborers involved will definitely have to loose their jobs because they have not attained the working age as well as their working environments are dangerous, the consumers will have to bear some costs because there will be no cheap labor which will lead to an increased cost of production which will then be transferred to the consumers.

Kantian ethical theory

However when the situation is argued from the Kantianism point of view it becomes more clear because the Kantian ethical theory advocates for the people to always to be acting in harmony with all the rules which are universally accepted(Tittle, 2000). Hence truth telling is always at the heart this theory (Kant, 1996). Even if Kant had no particular way of exactly knowing how a person will pay his/her self-sacrifice incase that person decides to blow the whistle, I strongly believe that Kant always would like each individual to always stand very firm when  it is necessary to tell the truth regardless of whatever personal outcome which may occur. Hence from the Kantian ethical theory point of view I would also stand firmly to tell the truth. This is because I have identified an incidence which is harmful to the society, then the best thing should not be shutting up my mouth but revealing the incidence would intact be most noble thing to do at that point. Thus holding all other factors constant the truth which I will be standing for always remain irrespective of whichever action I may decide to take. For instance if I decide to keep quite the illegal child labor will not change and it will still remain a vice, hence the  best thing is to follow your conscience and stand for the truth and that is what I would definitely decide to do. The position that I would take concerning now the whistle blowing is always that I will favor it. This is because according to the Kantian ethical theory it becomes important to be in the front line in advocacy for protection of the society as well as making sure that all employees are practicing ethical behavior as well as practicing legal business. In this case the MBI computer company is not in any way doing this and it is in fact doing the contrary thus  from the Kantian point view what they are doing is inhuman and unethical and should not be allowed to continue. Also I would not in anyway feel comfortable working for a company which is doing unethical things to the society as well as practicing such an ethical behavior to human beings.

Relativist ethical theory

Ethical relativism can be considered as a situation whereby there is no absolute truth and things are perceived relatively subjective to different consideration by different kind of people. It also comes out that the cultures are the one which determines what to be right as well as what is wrong when interpedently of other cultures. In this ethical theory morals and values are always considered relatively and there is no universal set of standards. Hence you will find that one thing is right in one culture whereas in another culture it turns out that the same thing which is right in the other culture is wrong (Geirsson & Holmagren, 2000). For example when someone is responding to a dilemma like this one, that is considering either to blow the whistle or not, it becomes eminent that moral and ethics will serve a great deal in determining which direction to take. This is because I as whistleblower I will be responding to an ethical dilemma which may even lead public  accusation  inform of being braded as traitor by some of your collogues or even some sectors of the public which might be tempted to think that whatever you did wasn’t the right thing for that kind of a situation. Relativism always comes in different forms and not all forms are necessarily directly relevant to ethical theory. Hence moral relativism is whereby good or right is always determined by the relevant party which is concerned. Thus if the relevant party concerned is an individual then what we have is referred to as individual moral relativism. However, in our case  where I as a manager  and the individual  who  is involved in either deciding what is right or wrong then my moral should guide me to make the right choice thus comparing between the two options that is blowing the whistle or not. It becomes relatively essential to do what is good and thus whistle blowing becomes eminent and unavoidable.

Virtue ethics theory

The virtue ethics theory is the one whereby an individual is required is required to personify courage and integrity (Tittle, 2000). This in relation to whistle blowing involves reporting the unethical colleagues at work as well as violations of other people’s safety. For example, the primary goal of work labor is to facilitate production and not through exploitation of your workers for the sake of profit maximization without caring about their welfare.  Thus when you spot such kinds of an instance and turn a blind eye to it then it turns out that you are also participating in the violation of virtues such as courage and honesty. Although most of ethical theories discussed above concentrated on what is the right thing you should do, the virtue ethics is concerned about what kind of a right person you can be. The right kind of a person is the virtues one ,and this  means that this person hold virtues very passionately and considers to uphold the virtues such wisdom ,courage and justice are then of great importance preferably such kind of condition as the one in which I am involved by considering to blow the whistle or not . Hence when considering  either to blow the whistler not  you should consider what virtues do you hold  to very persistently and passionately and also comparing the situation in which you are in and if they are interfered with. But as a matter of common sense a virtuous person would never at any time consider exploitation of fellow human beings a good thing. In fact human exploitation and subsequent exposure to danger portrays the perpetrator of such kind of things as brutal, ruthless and without any form of kindness all of which are vices.


It is also of great importance that most of the employees are taught business ethics as well as their rights because they may be in a situation which necessitates whistle blowing. Also it is necessary to promote communication between employees preferably about the situation facing them and think of the way forward together. It is then not worth to support your company when it is being involved in unethical behavior, because finally when the whistle will be blown your reputation will be ruined together with that of the company. This is because no one will be willing to hire someone involved in criminal or unethical behavior because it will be hard trusting them. Also most of the times the company which you are working for will not be in a position to defend you incase you were caught perpetrating these unethical behaviors purposely to avoid ruining its reputation or being brought down with you. So you should do the right thing in order to avoid regretting afterwards. This is because we always have rights which protect us as well as helping us to make the right decisions at a work place and thus promoting peaceful existence between the employer and the employee. Whistle blowing to an external identity such as government agencies or the media might be very hazardous and so it became important to promote internal whistle blowing through removal of barriers to a successful internal whistle blowing program which includes lack of internal systems trust, fear that their might be retaliation, fearing to be alienated from your peer as well as fear of the employees being branded as snitches.


In conclusion the whistle blower provides the entire society with hope for the protection of ethical behavior as well as upholding justice. This is because without these people to step up and always advocate for the right things to be done then there would be continuity of or society being in danger. For example through the addressed case, this involves endangering the society by involving itself in illegal child labor which is not only illegal but dangerous because of the working conditions involved. This makes it necessary for organizations t o institute very rigorous policies which will allow the organizations employees to report all illegal or unethical behaviors.







Miceli, Marcia P., and Near, Janet P. (1992) Blowing The Whistle: The Organizational and Legal Implications for Companies and Employees. New York: Lexington Books.

Miethe, Terance D. (1999) Whistleblowing at Work: Tough Choices in Exposing Fraud, Waste and Abuse on the Job. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.

Titlle, Peng, (2000) Ethical issues in business: Inquiries, Cases and Readings.  Ontario: Broadview press Ltd.

Heimir Geirsson and Margaret R. Holmgren. (2000) Ethical theory: A concise theory. Ontario: Broadview press Ltd.

Whistleblowers: Troublemakers or Virtuous Nurses?: When Is Whistle blowing Morally Required?. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/582797_3