The purposeof this learning is to explore and analyze the different consequences andeffects of leaking confidential information about an organization to theenvironment within the organization or outside fighting through ethicaldilemmas and wrong doing.
This paper also gives a brief idea on Whistle blowingin the IT industry mainly and some of the different variables that influencepeople to breach confidentiality to an internal party or third party. The goalis to of this article is to provide transitory understanding on informationwhistle blowing.Information technology takes over more of our lives and the ethicalcomplications of decisions made by software developers, programmers and ITprofessionals is only becoming greater day by day.The question of ethical behavior in the IT industry is beginning to getaddressed. Unlike older and more established professions such as medicine andlaw, most ethical issues from IT and security professionals have not yet beencodified into law, nor is there a standard obligatory oversight body that hasestablished a comprehensive code of ethics for IT professionals and hence it isessential for an organization to look into the ethical dilemmas concerningprivacy, breach of confidentiality, whistleblowing to maintain a principledenvironment for individuals to carry upon their work successfully.This essayis going to include a short research into the incentives in the aspects ofwhistleblowing instances as well as its influence to an organization.
“Althoughthe modern technology that is being used in work places promises competitiveadvantages to the organization it also increases apprehensions about unethicalinformation practices by employees who are caught up in an ethical dilemma.These technologies also makes it much easier to copy and distribute informationamong the organization and 3rd parties as IT professionals gainaccess to equipment and information to violate intellectual property andprivacy decisions.” (Erika et al, 2010)”Whistle-blowing is aneffort by an employee to attract attention to a negligent, illegal, unethical,abusive, or dangerous act by a company that threatens the public interest andthat of the organization. Whistle-blowers often have access to specialinformation based on their expertise or position within the offendingorganization.
” (Reynolds, 2012)For an example, “an ITprofessional of a company may know and have access to the organization’ssensitive information regarding the accounting side of its aspect since he orshe may be in charge of the ERP system and may notice the numbers are beingfraudulent in the company’s record. A conscientious employee would call theproblem to management’s attention and try to correct it by working withappropriate resources within the company. But what if the employee’s attempt tocorrect the problem through internal channels was dissatisfied or ignored? Theemployee could then consider becoming a whistle-blower and reporting theproblem to people outside the company, including state or federal agencies thathave jurisdiction. Obviously, such actions could have negative consequences onthe employee’s job, perhaps resulting in vengeance and firing. In May 2005,Oracle Corporation paid $8 million to settle charges that it fraudulentlycollected fees before providing training for clients and failed to comply withfederal travel regulations in billing for travel and expenses.
The chargesarose from a whistle-blower lawsuit brought by a former Oracle vice president.As a result of the settlement, the whistle-blower received $1.58 million of the$8 million total settlement.” (Reynolds, 2012)”However according to Granvillewhistleblowing can occur when parties external to the organization are informedof illegal or unlawful wrongdoing within an organization. These individuals maybe members of the media, government officials, members of public supportgroups, or various other parties external to the organization who can bringabout change. definition of whistleblowing, however, describes it as takingplace when a person reports individual or corporate wrongdoing to sourceseither internal or external to the organization.
Internal whistleblowing may bedefined as disclosure to sources within the organization (for example, membersof upper management and supervisors) who can bring about effective changeregarding a perceived wrongdoing. Reports of wrongdoing to co-workers (peerreporting), however, would not be considered whistleblowing.” (Granville, 1999)”On the other hand, incircumstances where the wrongdoer is a higher official, the observer of thewrongdoing could report the incident to other members of upper management whocould eliminate the unlawful act. This type of action may be accompanied by theexiting of the wrongdoer and/or rebel. Whistleblowing is a sensitive style ofcommunication which requires the successful communicator to consider theaudience, purpose, language, and tone of the wrongdoing that is beingdisclosed. There are a couple of benefits to internal whistleblowing as opposedto external disclosure.
” (Granville, 1999)For an example, “Internaldisclosures allow organizations a chance to fix problems before they developinto full-blown scandals in the eyes of public”. Furthermore, internaldisclosure creates an ethical atmosphere within the organization whereemployees are encouraged to report unethical behaviour. If, however, theorganization’s climate is favourable to suppressing internal disclosure, thewrongdoing may go unreported for months causing the organization to suffer.Although internal and external whistleblowing appear to be different, they areconceptually similar. For instance, both forms of whistleblowing start withindividuals observing organizational wrongdoings committed by executives/managers or employees. Besides, both use the active voice (that is, verbalcommunication) as a means of eliminating the wrongdoing, instead of alternativeapproaches, such as sabotage or violence where both forms of whistleblowing maythreaten organizational norms and culture, creating an atmosphere of animosityand retaliation against the observer of the wrongdoing.
” (Granville, 1999)More over as per Eileen and Mary’ssayings “First, it directly implies ethical failure and involves one personjudging the ethical behaviour of another. Second, whistleblowing is oftenanonymous, depriving the reported-on an individual the right to face his or heraccuser. Third, whistleblowing often entails reporting outside of theestablished lines of communication and authority. Finally, whistleblowingrequires trust in those at the top of the organization to take appropriateactions when they learn of misdeeds by their employees. Unfortunately, evenwhen wrong doing is detrimental to many people external to the organization(e.
g. fraudulent ?nancial reporting, hacking into to the system resulting inarti?cially high stock prices and leaking sensitive data regarding theorganization), those internal to the organization often view the whistle-blower’sreport (rather than the initial wrongdoing) as the cause of their losses.Evidence of widespread retaliation and cost to the whistle-blower himself iswell documented. However uncomfortable we are with the notion of reporting onthe behaviour of others, whistleblowing is an important organizational control.Indeed, industry surveys and academicresearch support the contention that reporting mechanisms aid in the preventionand detection of unethical behaviour.
” (Eileen Z andMary B, 2010)”Whistle-blowing isgenerally considered from the viewpoint of professional morality. Moralityrejects the idea of choice and the interests of the professional as immoral.Yet the dreadful retaliations against the messengers of the truth make itnecessary for morality to leave a way out of whistle-blowing. Therefore itforges rights (sometimes called duties) to trump the duty to the publicprescribed by professional codes.
This serves to hide the obvious fact thatwhether to blow the whistle is indeed a choice, not a matter of objective duty.One should also notice that if it fails to achieve anything then blowing thewhistle was the wrong decision (or maybe the right decision that nobody wouldwant to make). There is nevertheless a tendency to judge it based on themotivation of the whistle blower. In a way, whistle blowers should strive toact like saints. Yet, it is logically impossible to hold both whistle-blowingas mandatory and whistle-blowers as heroes or saints.
Moreover, this tends tovalue the great deeds of a few over the lives of the many, which is incompatiblewith the basic assumptions of morality.” (Mathieu Bouville,2008)To conclude and summarize theessay, this literature explains that whistleblowing is a serious ethicaldilemma where from the perspective of ethics in general, whistle-blowers arefaced with deciding whether to break the bond of loyalty to their respectiveorganizations or to make a 3rd party aware about it in such asituation apart from being beneficial or elsewise.Whistle-blowers need to beinsiders, that is, either currently or previously associated with theorganization and a further discrepancy may be made between open and anonymouswhistleblowing during a situation. Internal whistle blowing is beingencouraged by many legal systems and legislations where there is also aprobability factor that the person may have chosen to leak information aboutthe company which may have negatively affected the society in the future andhence forth the whistle-blower might be saved in the face of law, if proventhat the information leaked would cause a commotion.
Like there’s no rose without athorn, either way whistleblowing would or would not be considered as wrongdoing depending on the weightage of the consequence relating to the company andthe person himself.· ErikaMcCallister, Timothy Grance, Karen A. Scarfone.
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p331-373. Book.· GranvilleKingIII. (1999). The Implications of an Organization’s Structure onWhistleblowing.
The Journal of Business Ethics. 20 (4), p315–326. Journal Article.· EileenZ. TaylorMary B.
Curtis. (2010). An Examination of the Layers of WorkplaceInfluences in Ethical Judgments: Whistleblowing Likelihood and Perseverance inPublic Accounting. The Journal of Business Ethics.
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