Corruption whistle blowing
RUNNING HEADER: CORRUPTION WHISTLE BLOWING
Whistleblowing is the act of exposing any kind of information or activitythat is deemed illegal, unethical or not fitting within the normalcode of conduct of the organization. It relates to any time that amember or an employee of an organization tells another about illegalor immoral practices within the organization in the hope that thiswill help end the misconduct. The information that can be blown outincludes all activities that have followed illegal procedures, havebroken the ethical code of conduct or can cost the organization andthe public. According to Delmas (2015), proponents of whistle blowingargue that it is an ethical behavior that seeks to resources and evilpractices within the organization through civil disobedience. Othersview the same act as disobedience to the organization and breachingthe confidentiality of the organization by exposing weaknesses in thesystem that can succumb to outside forces. Derek & Robin (2013)suggest that despite different standpoints on whistle blowing, it isworth noting that many whistle blowers acquire the informationillegally or unauthorized and disclose the information eitherexternally or internally. The activity can be done by an internalemployee in the organization who collects the information and blowsor by an external individual especially the media who get theinformation from internal sources and blow it to the public. Thisessay discusses whistle blowing in relation to corruption as anethical misconduct within an organization by analyzing the availablealternatives for whistle blowing the misconduct.
Corruptionis unethical conduct by an employee or the holder of a position forpersonal benefit. It takes many forms like bribery, extortions,networking and embezzlement of funds within the context of theorganization. The employee acts in an official capacity for personalgain rather than the good of the organization. According to the WorldBank, corruption entails abuse of power within the confine of the lawthrough creating an infrastructure that increases costs and time tolower and decrease the intended benefit[ CITATION Loc17 l 1033 ].Corruption occurs on different levels and scales ranging from smallfavorsbetween people to structural corruption where the practices areembedded in the people to form part of the structure of the society. Thus it is one of the symptoms of organized crime within anorganization or a country. Mantzaris, Tsekeris, & Tsekeris (2014)suggest that corruption occurs anywhere so long as there are avenuesthat create conducive environments for the misconduct. This is basedon limited interests to the public by leaders. Today almost allsectors of the government, private organizations and the society arefacing corrupt related challenges in administering services tobeneficiaries. The moral dimension of the individual has an intrinsicand an extrinsic effect on the corruption level that may bepracticed. Corrupt practices in organizations have been related todoing business and only bending rues to achieve the means that canjustify the end.
Inmost organizations corruption is the order of the day since the roleof being in business is to make money. Therefore if corruption canenable the organization to make more profits, grow revenue andsatisfy stakeholders, then creating a culture that emphasizes usingall means to justify the end makes corruption real within manyorganizations. Corrupt practices are not carried out by an individualbut rather perpetuated by actions of numerous employees who work toachieve a common purpose. The employees within an organization have aframework that ensures all strategies have been put in place toexecute the activities that they want[ CITATION Tre13 l 1033 ].For example accountability in an organization relates to differentcomponents that work together in harmony to account for all theresources that have been used. This means that corruption is not anindividual activity but rather a chain of individuals from differentdepartments who work together to achieve a common purpose. Accordingto Locatelli, Mariani, Sainati, & Greco(2017) the corrupt chaindevelops procedures that fit their needs depending on the nature ofthe activity being carried out. Sometimes the activity can bebenefiting the corrupt cartel within the organization or can bebenefiting the whole organization. This means that corruption can beindividual based or organization based with senior employees beingthe masterminds behind the scheme.
Whistleblowing as a witness account is a powerful tool in mitigatingcorruption and reducing its effects to save the public a lot of fundsthat may be lost. Whistle blowers have been described as opting toreport the problem as a last resort with the hope that theorganization will develop mechanisms that stoop the problem. Mostorganizations have internal checks used to detect loop holes in thesystem and at the same time putting in place mechanisms forindividuals to report problems. Therefore whistle blowing is analternative channel for reporting wrongdoing when internal mechanismshave failed. Current whistle blowing entails blowing the whistle onthe employee’s current employer while alumni whistle blowingentails blowing the whistle on former employees[ CITATION Del15 l 1033 ]. Different arguments have been presented on whether the whistleblowing employee needs toresign first before exposing corruption issues or needs to do it fromwithin.
Mayer(2016) suggests that internal whistle blowing is the best mechanismfor reporting corruption related cases within an organization.Increased public scrutiny of originations gives better opportunitiesfor internal whistle blowers to expose valid information that thepublic and stakeholders may not be aware off. Organizations havedeveloped strategies that allow employees to anonymously blow thewhistle or expose information that can be helpful to business climateof the organization. Internal whistle blowing is the best strategysince it gives the organization room to dress the issues that relateto it without allowing them to escalate to the public. Someorganizations have a sensitive role in the society like security andthus exposing the illegal and wrong doings to the public may harm theimage of the organization. Many countries like the United Kingdom andUnited States have set laws through public disclosure acts to protectwhistle blowers from dismissal or criminal offence for exposingissues within the organization.
Proponentson internal whistle blowing argue that it gives senior managementgreater control of the situation through exploring the best avenuesfor sorting the problem. The organization saves itself from publicscrutiny if the issue is reported internally than externally. This isbecause some suspected fraud cases can be handled throughorganizational mechanisms without necessarily involving externalinstitutions and publicity. It also gives the organization time toevaluate internal mechanisms for detecting and reporting corruptionactivities and the reason why they are not effective[ CITATION Sch151 l 1033 ].Management also feels confidence in its leadership and managementstyles when employees willingly report issues that they feel can costthe organization rather than exposing them to the public.However, anonymity of the blower is an issue that has attractedconsiderable debate as a way of protecting the blower from bullyingand undermining of employees.
Onthe other hand, external whistle blowing can take different formslike resigning from the organization before blowing the whistle. Insuch cases, the blower is free from organizational pressures likeintimidation since the employee will never be working in theorganization. When exposing such corruption issues, the blower needsto gather enough information that can justify the information toavoid being sued for defamation of character. This form of exposureis difficult than internal blowing since the employee is doing itfrom outside the organization which may make the action look like itwas an intentional aim of hitting back to the organization orcovering up scandals that relate to the same employee. It is riskierif the reputation of the organization is being compromised and thusleaders and management may twist the information to protect image andat the same time use the whistle blower as a scapegoat. Schultza &Harutyunyan ( 2015) add that despite the provisions in the lawemployees who blow the whistle after leaving the organization riskbeing labeled more as compared to those who blow from within.
Mayer(2016) suggests that when organizations feel that employees havechosen to turn against them and expose ethical issues within theorganization without using internal mechanisms that have beenestablished, they respond with the aim of protecting their image.There are only two options in protecting the image of theorganization in the case of whistle blowing, framing someone ordenying the allegations that have been labeled. Every organizationfights to protect its public image and will not allow employees whohave been part of the system and understood the dynamics within thesystem to expose those weaknesses. External whistle blowing employingface retaliation moves from their former organizations which lead toserious court battles that may be more harmful to the individualrather than the organization.
Whistleblowing is the latest accountability tool that organizations areusing to make employees responsible for responsibilities that theyhave been charged with. There have been different debates on theanonymity of whistle blowers with the United States stock markets andaffiliates being required to store blowing related data and theEuropean Union restricting gathering and retention of data. Schultza& Harutyunyan (2015) argues that corruption is an internationalproblem that affects all organizations and countries in the world.Utilitarian based economic theory suggests that economic players aregoverned by their own interests and if corruption can take care ofthe interests then they will always use it thus making the fightsagainst corruption difficult. it offers a framework that can exposecorruption schemes within an organization giving management anopportunity to deal with corrupt employees and at the same time sealthe loopholes that relate to corruption. However, Derek & Robin(2013) argues that internal whistle blowing offers the best platformto expose such ethical dilemmas while at the same time protect theimage of the organization by allowing management to deal with theissue and report to the public if necessary. It is also a way ofdeveloping internal system checks within the organization to increasesystem efficiency. Therefore whistle blowing is a good practice whenit is done internally since many organizations have establishedmechanisms for self-reporting and employee recognition [patterns foremployees who expose ethical dilemmas that may cost the organizationresources and reputation.
Delmas, C. (2015). The Ethics of Government Whistleblowing. Social Theory and Practice, 41(1), 77-105.
Derek, D., & Robin, R. (2013). The Joint Effects of Machiavellianism and Ethical Environmnet on Whistle-Blowing. Journal of Business Ethicss, 117, 153-172.
Locatelli, G., Mariani, G., Sainati, T., & Greco, M. (2017). "Corruption in public projects and megaprojects: There is an elephant in the room! International Journal of Project Management, 35(3), 252–268.
Mayer, D. (2016, September). Why Are Some Whistleblowers Vilified and Others Celebrate. Harvard Business Reviewd.
Schultza, D., & Harutyunyan, K. (2015). Combating corruption: The development of whistleblowing laws in the United States, Europe, and Armenia. International Comparative Jurisprudence, 1(2), 87-97.
Trevino, L., & Nelson, K. (2013). Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk about How to Do It Right . (6th ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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