Whistle‐Blowing, Moral Integrity, and Organizational Ethics

George G. Brenkert

in The Oxford Handbook of Business Ethics

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780195307955
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Whistle‐Blowing, Moral Integrity, and Organizational Ethics

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This article examines the issue of whistle-blowing and discusses how employees should respond when something illegal, immoral, or contrary to company policies becomes known to them. It evaluates three prominent theories of when an employee would be justified in blowing the whistle. These are the Harm Theory, the Complicity Theory, and the Good Reasons Theory. This article identifies the strengths and weaknesses in each of these theories and proposes an integrity account of whistle-blowing. It also discusses organizational design issues that businesses should undertake to avoid the ethical issue of whistle-blowing.

Keywords: whistle-blowing; Harm Theory; Complicity Theory; Good Reasons Theory; organizational design

Article.  19455 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Social and Political Philosophy

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