The Morality of Whistleblowing

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The act of reporting discrepancies within a company either internally or externally in defined as whistleblowing. There are two forms of whistleblowing internal and external. When the information is reported within the company it is considered to be internal whistleblowing and external whistleblowing is when it is reported to a source outside the company. Another word that a whistle-blower can be refer to as is an informant, both words will be used interchangeably throughout the essay. Morality can be used to refer to certain codes of conduct put forward by a society or group or accepted by an individual for his/her behaviour. Even though whistle-blowers are protected by law some people may consider the act of whistleblowing to be immoral while some others think it is a moral act. According to an article by Mathieu Bouville if the act fails to achieve anything then whistleblowing was the wrong decision or the right decision that nobody wanted to make. In that case whistleblowing can be considered moral act since it exposes wrongdoings , it can change policies, but it can lead the person being targeted .

Whistleblowing can lead to the exposure of wrongdoings of a company or of workers in the company. Companies may choose to engage in illegal activities such as tax evasion or workers in the company , acting on their own accord may choose to steal money from a company or any other activity that does not benefit the company. For example, a pharmaceutical company was selling a drug that was not approved by the U.S Food and Drug administration. Four of the employees in the company discovered the wrong doings of the company and brought charges to the company. In the case above the company itself was engaging in criminal activities unknown to the employees.

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In most cases the act of whistleblowing can in the long run lead to changes of policies. In light of the rise of whistle-blowers there have been many changes of laws that offers protection to informants. In 2011 the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) established a whistle-blower program in order to encourage people to come forward with any illegal actions they know of. The program requires a person to voluntary provide credible information to receive a cash prize. The SEC also passed a law that allows for legal action to be taken against anyone who retaliate against any informants. The retaliation against informants would further be explained below. The creation of these policies would not have been possible if there were no people exposing wrongdoings of companies and employees.

The above two points highlight the positives that can come out of blowing the whistle, but after the person informs on the guilty party, he/she continue their day to day activities in the same space. Whistle blower have a negative connotation around the word. When a person bring to light illegal actions of a company or person fellow employees or the general public may tend to think badly of that person. In some cases, fellow employees of the informant may alienate themselves from the whistle blower. Sometimes the person may be fired from their job due to informing on the company. Another scenario is that the whistle blower may be shamed by the general public for their action. A popular case to portray the above claims is the case with Edward Snowden. Edward Snowden worked for the National System Agency as an It system expert. In 2013 Snowden went to Hong Kong where he provided documents about agencies surveillance on citizens to journalist there. After he did this the American government cancelled his passport leading him to seek asylum in another country, Russia. The above scenario showed an extreme effect that whistleblowing have on the individual who released the information .

In summation whistleblowing can be viewed as being a moral act as well as immoral based on the outcome. Many positives can come out of blowing the whistle such as exposing criminal activities as well as improving policies or result in the creation of new policies. On the other hand, a person who blows the whistle can be faced with backlash from the public.

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The Morality of Whistleblowing. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
“The Morality of Whistleblowing.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
The Morality of Whistleblowing. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 12 Jun. 2024].
The Morality of Whistleblowing [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 16 [cited 2024 Jun 12]. Available from:

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