and loyality
A voluntary attempt by an employee to bring
a wrongful practice to the attention of
those who can remedy the situation.
Whistleblowers claim to act out of concern
for the company, for society or for both.
Whistleblowers are usually not admired by
their fellow workers. Many are forced to
quit their work.
Who is not an whistleblower?
Only an employee (or an ex-employee) can blow
the whistle. An investigating journalist is not a
whistleblower, she is just doing her job. A
witness in a criminal case is not a whistleblower,
if she answers questions truthfully.
The employee is hired to do as she is told by her
superiors, and not to divulge confidential
information to outsiders is part of the job.
Whistleblowers must have information (of
significant misconduct by the company) that is
not known outside of the company.
Pure Motives
A whistleblower’s motives must not be
personal gain or revenge.
A whistleblower’s motive must be concern to
correct some wrong or to put an end to
some illegal or immoral conduct.
Outside normal reporting channels
Employees are expected to report anything
illegal or irregular to their immediate
superior. If you go over her head and
report to her superior or the board of
directors, you are an ’internal’
whistleblower. If you take your concerns
to a newspaper or the police, you are an
’extertnal’ whistleblower.
To whom?
The information must be revealed in
ways that can reasonably be
expected to bring about desired
change. You must bring the matter to the
attention of someone who can make it
public or do something about it. Simply
telling someone else is not whistleblowing,
if that someone cannot do anything about
it or at least make it public.
Avoiding the tragedy of
In an article by that name, Michael Davis
argues that everyone involved suffers as a
result of whistleblowing.The whistleblower
as well as other employees and the
Whistleblowing may sometimes be
necessary, but all other alternatives should
be pursued before it happens. It can only
be the last resort, Davis argues.
Blame the messenger
The whistleblower suffer because there is a
tendency to blame the messenger for bad
Is blowing the whistle a sign of insufficient
loyality to the company? Is the
whistleblower betraying trust? Is he or she
a traitor to the company?
Can the whistleblower blow the
whistle without breaking trust?
What behaviour is loyal? Is it loyal to act
only in the way that the company
management considers to be in the
company´s best interest? Who defines
loyal behaviour here?
Is not acting loyally to act in a maner which
the employee genuinely believes to be in
the best interest of the company?
Can it ever be in the best interest of
the company to act immorally?
If an action is justified (in the circumstances)
is it ever genuinely immoral?
If an action is not justified is it not immoral?
If it is immoral, is it in the best interest of
the company? If it is not in the best
interest of the company how can it be
disloyal of an employee to ’blow the
Moral insight
Is it correct of an employee to question the
moral integrity and the moral insight of his
superiors? If he does, why is he working
there? If he does, he is expected to do as
they tell him, and that may involve immoral
acts. Can the employee insist that his
moral (’higher’) integrity is the companies
norm,rather than the integrity and moral
insight of his superiors?
Is the whistleblower always right? May he not
mistake his superior’s unwillingness to change
some practice or procedure for immorality? May
they not be right and he wrong?
How should the company deal with real or
potential whistleblower’s?
All genuine concerns by employees should be
taken seriously. Employees should be able to
voice these concern in confidence and without
fear. Concerns should be dealt with or laid to
rest with credible explanations.