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Ethics Whistle blowing

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HASSAN RAZA SHAD-14938

14 April 2015

Contents
What is Whistle Blowing?...............................................................................................................3
Conflict between Honesty and Loyalty...........................................................................................3
The Loyal Agent Argument.............................................................................................................3
Criteria for Justifiable Whistle Blowing..........................................................................................4
Edward Snowden.............................................................................................................................5
Jeffery Wigand.................................................................................................................................6
Whistle Blowing and Utilitarianism................................................................................................7
Whistle Blowing and Deontological Ethics.....................................................................................8
Whistle Blowing and Islamic Ethics................................................................................................8
Public/Personal Perception of Ethics & Whistle Blowing……...………………………………...9
Corporate Perception of Ethics & Whistle Blowing……………………...……………………...10
The Media………………………………………………………………………..………………11
Conclusion………………………………………………………………………..
………….......12

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What is Whistle Blowing?
Whistle blowing is an attempt by a member or former member of an
organization to disclose wrong doing in or by the organization. It is the term
used to refer to unauthorized reporting or disclosure of confidential
information in institutional settings. There are two types of whistle blowing:
1. Internal Whistle Blowing: When an individual advocates beliefs or
revelations within the organization.
2. External Whistle Blowing: When and individual advocates beliefs or
revelations outside the organization.
The purpose of whistle blowing is to draw attention to unethical,
inappropriate or incompetent conduct which has or may have detrimental
effects either for the institution or for those affected by its functions. It
extends to situations where an individual believes that an activity is harmful
while others involved are not aware of it or reject the perception that is
involved.

Conflict between Honesty and Loyalty
An Employee who is honest can be counted on to tell the truth. Employers
expect their employees to be loyal to them and act in the best interest of
the company. Conflict arises when: Employee has to decide between
loyalty and truthfulness of the business.

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The Loyal Agent Argument
An employee is an agent of his or her
employer. An agent is a person
engaged to act in the interest of another
person, who is known as the principal.
Employees are legally agents of their
employers. As agents, they are
obligated to work as directed, to protect confidential information, and, in
general, to act in the principal’s best interest. Although the whistle-blower
might appear to be a disloyal agent, the obligations of an agent’s loyalty
have limits. Whistle-blowing, therefore, is not incompatible with being a
loyal agent. Two limits on the obligation of agents are especially important.
 An agent has an obligation to obey only reasonable directives of the
principal, and so an agent cannot be required to do anything illegal or
immoral.
 The obligations of an agent are confined to the needs of the
relationship. Thus, an employee is not obligated to do anything that
falls outside the scope of his or her employment.
Blowing the whistle frequently creates significant disruption within an
organization—it may lose control of its affairs as it is subjected to external
inquiries and constraints; it may find itself crippled by costs or other
restrictions; and many within it who are little more than innocent bystanders
may suffer from the repercussions of an externally mounted investigation.
Because the whistle blowing jeopardizes the organization's interests (at
least as they are understood within the organization), whistle blowing is
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therefore seen as a significant act of disloyalty. Whistle blowers themselves
will often argue that owed loyalty has been forfeited (or at least overridden),
so that no disloyalty has been perpetrated.

Criteria for Justifiable Whistle Blowing
1. The firm, through its products or policy, will do serious and
considerable harm to the public, whether in the person of the user of
its product, an innocent bystander, or the general public.
2. Once an employee identifies a serious threat to the user of a product
or to the general public, he should report it to his immediate superior
and make his moral concern known.
3. If ones superior does nothing effective about the concern, the
employee should exhaust the internal procedures and possibilities
within the firm. This usually will involve taking the matter up the
managerial ladder, and if necessary, possible to the BOD.
4. The whistle blower must have accessible, documented evidence that
would convince a reasonable, impartial observer that one’s view of
the situation is correct and that the company’s product or practice
poses a serious and likely danger to the public/user.
5. The employee must have good reason to believe that by going public
the necessary changes will be brought about. The chance of being
successful must be worth the risk one takes and the danger to which
one is exposed.

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Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden was a former employee of
the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a
former contractor for the National Security
Agency (NSA). He disclosed thousands
of classified documents to several media
outlets, which he had acquired while working
for the American consulting firm Booz Allen
Hamilton. Snowden's leaked documents
uncovered the existence of numerous global
surveillance programs, many of them run by the NSA and the Five
Eyes with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European
governments. He revealed the existence of:
- Boundless informant
- PRISM
- XKeyScore
- Tempora
- MUSCULAR Access Point
- FASCIA
- Threat Research Intelligence Group
- Squeaky Dolphin
- Optic Nerve program

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Snowden's "sole motive" for leaking the documents was, in his words, "to
inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is
done against them.

Jeffery Wigand
Jeffrey S. Wigand was born on December 17, 1942 in New York City. He
was a former vice president of research and development at Brown &
Williamson in Louisville, Kentucky.
He currently lectures around the
world as an expert witness and
consultant for various tobacco
issues and on his non-profit
organization, SMOKE-FREE KIDS,
Inc. The one-time tobacco executive
who made front-page news when he
revealed that his former employer
knew exactly how addictive and
lethal cigarettes were. In 1995, he
exposed the lies we'd all been told for decades about cigarettes: about their
capacity to addict us, about their capacity to kill us. A case was brought by
the states' attorneys general against the major tobacco companies and Mr.
Wigand's disclosures played a crucial role. The case resulted in a $246
billion settlement last year for health claims paid by the states.
Being a whistle-blower has not been easy. Indeed, Mr. Wigand said he had
never become comfortable with the term ''whistle-blower.'‘ 'I don't even like
the word,'' he said. ''To me, it has a negative connotation. And I struggle
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with what I did with what I knew; I really do.'‘ "The word whistleblower suggests that you're a tattletale or that you're somehow disloyal," he
says. "But I wasn't disloyal in the least bit. People were dying. I was loyal to
a higher order of ethical responsibility.” He simply told the truth, he says,
about what he saw and experienced as the head of R&D for (B& W), that
is how the company misled consumers about the highly addictive nature of
nicotine, how it ignored research indicating that some of the additives used
to improve flavor caused cancer, how it encoded and hid documents that
could be used against the company in lawsuits brought by sick or dying
smokers.

Whistle Blowing and Utilitarianism
The ethical theory of utilitarianism provides a powerful justification for
whistle-blowing: maximizing the human benefit and minimizing the
harm. It says greatest good for the greatest number. If whistle blowing will
have a positive impact on greater number of people, which it does, then
whistle blowing is good.
If we look at the two options Wigand had. It was to speak out or remain
silent. Utilitarianism’s main question to apply is what action would help
produce the greatest amount of happiness and least harm? If you were to
apply this question, then you can argue that he chose the right decision to
speak out. Based on the truth being told he make the public aware of the
addictive nature of nicotine. He made it quite clear that the company was
hiding incriminating evidence of lawsuits that had been filed by sick or
dying smokers. He also provided information about how the flavor
enhancer caused cancer. The only argument is what happiness did this
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whistle blowing act achieve? “In my opinion the only happiness that was
achieved was that the public now knows the truth about the impact of
smoking. There is no technical measurement on happiness.” – Jeffery
Wigand.

Whistle Blowing and Deontological Ethics
According to deontological ethics, to do whistle blowing is ethical. From a
deontological ethics point of view, the policy which allows whistle blowing is
necessary because the more ethical you are, the more happy you become.
In this ethics, you don’t surrender your self-respect in front of any other
person’s self-respect. According to Kant, your imperfect duty to others is to
save the life of others.

Whistle Blowing and Islamic Ethics
To view the concept of whistle blowing Islamically, there is need to trace its
origin which could be found in the context of ethics, ethics as part of Islamic
teaching guides the conduct of human life both personally and in the work
place. Some substances of whistle blowing can be sorted out in Islam from
areas of Al-shahada(witness attestation), It is your God that you serve by
so doing, you are obliged to discharge the duty of attestation(and not to
hide the evidence) when you get in touch with an information about
wrongdoing or unlawful act. Qur'an 2:283 gives more account of that:
(translation of the meaning) "….. And conceal not the evidence for he who
hides it surely his heart is sinful, and Allah, is all-knower of what you do".
Whistle blowing being lawful in Islam, then has to be either a duty on a
Muslim or a right. In the former, one cannot ignore it, where as in the latter
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it can be ignored depending upon the choice of the person concerned.
However, if we look at it from the angle of Amru bil Maaruf , (enjoining
goodness) Wal Nahyi an Al Munkar (and forbidding wrongdoing) or from
the point of view of Shahada (witness attestation) which is mandatory upon
Muslims, then whistle blowing is a "duty“ because the purpose of whistle
blowing is the same as that of 'enjoining goodness and forbidding
wrongdoing'. The conditions listed by Bowie contain morality, prevention of
harm, truth, and replacing bad with good. Islam also has the same
philosophy with regard to issues of public disclosure:
 Jabir (R.A) Narrated a Hadith from the Holy Prophet
(S.A.W.) "Discussions are confidential (not subject to disclosure)
except in three places: "Shedding unlawful blood, Unlawful
cohabitation and Unlawful accumulation of wealth". Narrated by
Abu Dawud.
 Another Hadith Narrated from Zaid Bin Khalid; the prophet (SAW)
says: "May I tell you who is the best witness? He who testify his
witness before asked to do so". Clearly this Hadith is stimulating
us to blow the whistle whether we are asked or not, provided it will
have moral benefit to the society.
As a good Muslim, one has to discharge all the duties (including whistle
blowing) that are said to be of obligatory nature and part of Iman, with no
expectation of any worldly incentive or extra protection, apart from the
general Islamic protection given to individuals.

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Public perception of ethics and whistleblowing
Whistleblowing can be a divisive topic and, while most would agree with the
value of reporting wrongdoing and condone good organisational
governance, external contexts can colour acceptance and perception.
There are elements of chicken and egg as attitudes that are encouraged in
the work place extend to the street – if businesses promote good corporate
governance for all, whistleblowing needn’t be viewed negatively or as
solely the preserve of business or community leaders.
In 2007, a survey commissioned by the US Democracy Corps of 1014
“likely voters” revealed that 70% supported whistleblower protections and
40% stated that they would be much more likely to vote for a congress that
enacts such legislation. When we vote, use services or entrust our money
with banks we want to know that they are secure and working in our best
interests (although the latter example might stick in your throat somewhat!).
If an engineer at a water sanitation plant in your area uncovered safety
issues we would hope they had ample opportunity to report this without fear
of reprisal; avoiding danger and incident and allowing for the company in
question to assess and improve their practices.
Personal perception of ethics and whistleblowing
The whistleblower is ultimately torn between loyalty to their employer (or
the subject of their revelation) and their moral commitment to the law and
society at large. Many feel they have the most to lose, at least in the first
instance. It could be argued that it is incongruous with human nature to
display loyalty to a bureaucratic organisation because it is composed of so
many different people. This dehumanising environment could distort the
whistleblower’s perception of their relevance within a company or their
ability to influence change, thus degrading their sense of responsibility and
motivation to report.
As long as the whistleblower is sure that their motivations are sound and
that they are confident in the system they should not hesitate to relay such
information and be pleased that they are helping to create a safer working
environment for their colleagues.
Whistleblowers and the media have enjoyed a somewhat symbiotic
relationship. ‘Though agendas and motivations may vary, they share the
ambition of exposing wrongdoing and encouraging changes in systems that
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aren’t working in the interests of those they are supposed to protect.
Recent high profile cases, such as the care homes scandal, are excellent
examples of individuals reporting for altruistic reasons – but if a
whistleblower appears to be seeking a soapbox for public attention or
engineering an act of retaliation, it is of paramount importance that the
investigative body in question ensures that the case is conducted in the
correct way and that a message of intolerance is clear. If an individual feels
disenfranchised by their position in the process, to transfer it to the public
sphere might seem their best or only option. It’s up to business and
community leaders to ensure this does not happen.

Corporate perception of ethics and whistleblowing
Even if an organisation has a whistleblowing hotline in place they should
not be complacent when it comes to its usage and communication. If a
company doesn’t receive many whistleblowing reports they shouldn’t
assume that no news is good news (read more about communicating your
whistleblowing hotline service). In addition, if companies don’t use the data
collected from their reports in a progressive manner (analysing trends,
investigation and resolution etc) it negates the benefits of the service
considerably. Businesses have a responsibility to the public to act on
whistleblowing intelligence or risk adverse consequences. They are
additionally accountable to the governing bodies of their sector such as the
FSA, HSE and of course the Ministry of Justice. Where there are
environmental concerns arising from a whistleblowing report, these too
must be addressed with the correct authorities.
There are isolated instances where whistleblowing could be considered the
wrong course of action in an ethical context; the Republicans branded
Bradley Manning, the Wikileaks informant, a terrorist and whipped the
media and public into a frenzy regarding breaches of national security. This
of course is an extreme case and it is unlikely that whistleblowing cases
made in a corporate context will ever mirror this level of drama. But, no
matter what size or sector, businesses cannot afford to allow a culture of
misconduct and corruption to infiltrate operations.
It might seem obvious as an employee of a market-leading hotline provider
to believe in the ethics of whistleblowing – but personal politics aside, it is
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true to say that individual ethics are born of a culture of ethics and no
matter what your personal take on whistleblowing in this realm, that
assertion, at least, is undeniable.

The Media
Whistleblowers and the media have enjoyed a somewhat symbiotic
relationship. Although agendas and motivations may vary, they share the
ambition of exposing wrongdoing and encouraging changes in systems that
aren’t working in the interests of those they are supposed to protect.
Recent high profile cases, such as the care homes scandal in the U.K., are
excellent examples of individuals reporting for altruistic reasons – but if a
whistleblower appears to be seeking a soapbox for public attention or
engineering an act of retaliation, it is of paramount importance that the
investigative body in question ensure that the case is conducted in the
correct way.

CONCLUSION

 A whistle blowing incident is probably the most emotionally difficult
thing you can experience as a professional
 Not every incident that should result in whistle blowing does,
sometimes the whistle is “swallowed” rather than blown
 In some cases, there are federal and state laws meant to provide
protection for the whistle blowers
 If you find yourself in a possible whistle-blowing incident, you should
exhaust all internal alternatives for addressing the problem and
accumulate all documentation possible. If blowing the whistle
becomes the only alternative, then you should anticipate a job
change and you should get good legal representation
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