What is whistle blowing????
Whistle blowing in its most general form involves calling(public)attention to wrong doing, typically
in order to avert harm. Whistle blowing is an attempt by a member or former member of an organization to
disclose wrong doing in or by the organization.
e.g.:- Wikileaks, Jeffrey Wigand, “The Insider”, Karen Silkwood, “Silkwood”
Definition of whistleblower:-
A whistleblower is an employee, former employee, or member of an organization, especially a
business or government agency, who reports misconduct to people or entities that have the power and
presumed willingness to take corrective action.
Purpose of whistle blowing:-
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.
The whistleblowers are prepared to take full responsibility for their actions.
Implies a concern for the preservation of ethical values which overrides a concern for self-preservation.
Whistleblowers open themselves to the risk of losing personal and financial security, counter-accusation
and alienation and yet they feel compelled to make the disclosure and to stand by it.
Types of whistle blowing:-
Internal Whistle blowing is made to
someone within the organization.
Personal Whistle blowing is blowing
the whistle on the offender, here the
charge is not against the organization
or system but against one individual.
The impersonal, is the external whistle
Stages of whistle blowing:-
Stage one -- Is there a potential whistle- blowing scenario?
Stage two -- Seriousness test
Stage three -- Reality check
Stage four -- Becoming aware of the big picture
Stage five -- Forcing management recognition of the problem
Stage six -- Taking the problem to upper management
Stage seven -- Going outside the organization
Stage eight -- Living with the Results
Effects of whistleblowing:-
• Forced to leave organization/demotion
• Credibility ruined
• Family, health, and/or life in jeopardy
• Outrage and divisiveness of people
directly or indirectly involved
• Physical or psychological isolation.
• Organization experiences loss of
money, restitution, productivity, and
• When the employee identifies a serious threat of harm, he or she should
report it and state his or her moral concern.
• The employee must have documented evidence that is convincing to a
reasonable, impartial observer that his or her view of the situation is
accurate and evidence that the firm’s practice, product or policy seriously
threatens and puts in danger the public or product user.
• The employee must have valid reasons to believe that revealing the
wrongdoing to the public will result in the changes necessary to remedy
When is Whistle-blowing
When is Whistle-blowing unethical?
Whistle-blowing must be questioned if:
• Motivation is the opportunity for financial gain or media
• Employee is carrying out a vendetta against the company
• Key point – better be very sure of your facts and your
evidence better be irrefutable before blowing the whistle
• Whistle blowing leads to good results.
• Severe damage to the environment has
been stopped by the actions.
• The actions of whistle blowers are
potentially beneficial to society.
• Exposing unethical behavior
• Legal Protection
• Diminishes Trust in the
• Can Negatively Affect
• Can Destroy the Company
• Risk to Personal Safety
Role of an HR Manager
• Keep employees on a behavioral track that is acceptable in the eyes of the law, of key
stakeholders and the directions of senior management.
• They can undertake internal audits, exit interviews, opinion surveys, legal compliance monitoring
systems, and direct whistleblowing mechanisms.
• includes confidential phone hotlines and write-ins where employees can anonymously report their
concerns and suspicions.
• Educating managers about legal processes and training them to investigate grievances
thoroughly and objectively is prerequisite to a diligent response.
Julian Assange is an
Australian publisher and
journalist. He is the
controversial founder of
the whistleblower website
WikiLeaks which releases
sensitive and or classified
documents which have
WikiLeaks has been involved in the publication of material
documenting extrajudicial killings in Kenya, a report of toxic
waste dumping on the coast of Côte d'Ivoire, Church of
Scientology manuals, Guantanamo Bay detention camp
procedures, the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike video, and
material involving large banks such as Kaupthing and Julius
Baer among other documents.
known in 2010 when it
began to publish U.S.
military and diplomatic
assistance from its
partners in the news
A whistle blowing incident is probably the most emotionally difficult thing you can experience as a
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.