Monday, July 11, 2016

Graduate Student Ask Questions on Whistleblowing Ethics

July 11, 2016

Dear Cathy:

My name is Tom and I am a postgraduate student of MA in philosophy at a University. The reason for contacting you is that I am writing a thesis on Whistleblowing Ethics. I hope that this thesis will contribute to initiate discussion in the academic field in my country. 

I would highly appreciate if you spend  a few minutes answering the following 5 questions that will be analyzed  in my thesis.  It should be a great honor and achievement to have your personal thoughts in this thesis: 

1.      Can you name your biggest motivation for your whistleblowing act? Well two things comes to mind when I think about this question. First of all you need to understand what I was blowing the whistle on and who it directly affected. I exposed that African American women were targeted for abusive pat-downs, humiliating strip searches and prolonged detentions that lasted for up to 4 days. I am the mother of two African American daughters so this type of practice broke my heart so I felt I had to come forward. My other reason for coming forward was hoping there would be reforms but sometimes you can't count on reforms, you just have to realize that you did the right thing.  

2.      It is true that few people decide to proceed to the whistleblowing act even if they are aware that something is wrong. What is the special feature in your personality that differentiate you from other employees? Do you consider yourself as a hero, rebel or martyr? You are right -- only a hand full of employees come forward after witnessing some type of illegality. I don’t consider myself to be a hero, rebel or martyr but many others do.  I am however and always were a rebel. I was the black sheep of my family growing up so black sheeps live their lives on the edge. They usually don’t take no for an answer.

3.      Can you justify the decision not to resort to whistleblowing, even if something is wrong? Can you name a reason that keeps people silent? The biggest reason that people stay silent is retaliations. They are worried about what will happen to them when others find out they have told about the illegalities. However, before coming forward, I conducted extensive research about the repercussions I would face and being a strong individual, it was the only thing I could do at the time to gain justice for these victims. Sometimes you have to speak for the people who don't have a voice and that is what I was doing.

4.      Corporations are dominant in our society, however there is an institutional wrongdoing that leads to corruption so whistleblowing occurs. What institutional measures should be taken in order to make whistleblowing unnecessary?  Corporations have to do the right thing and be ethical in all their dealings, which is easier said than done. Laws, rules and regulations are rarely ever followed so whistleblowing laws for both Corporate America and the federal government must be strengthened. 

5.      Do you believe that a corporation can have morality standards? What are the main differences and restrictions comparing to your individual morality?  Every corporations or institution out there have laws, rules and regulations which are often broken, so it’s just hard to hold these individuals accountable because they always have politicians and others in their pockets, who can keep covering up for them.

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