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A whistleblower, by definition, is someone who brings an unethical, immoral, or illegal business practice to the public’s attention

A whistleblower, by definition, is someone who brings an unethical, immoral, or illegal business practice to the public’s attention

Discussion Question – Whistleblower: An Ethical Dilemma

A whistleblower, by definition, is someone who brings an unethical, immoral, or illegal business practice to the public’s attention. Whistleblowers have a difficult time in doing this, and they often find their lives changed because of their actions. Sometimes they are shunned and also receive death threats. It is common for the family members to feel the effects of a whistleblower’s behavior.
 

Dr. Jeffrey Wigand became one of the best-known whistleblowers after his experience was turned into a movie, The Insider. He proved tobacco companies were deliberately boosting the nicotine content of cigarettes, making them more addictive and cancer causing. However, similar to other whistleblowers, he suffered from tremendous stress and received death threats and other forms of intimidation for doing the right thing. Do some research on Wigand’s actions.
 

For the first part of your post:

  • Assess how Dr. Wigand showed moral intelligence and leadership in this situation. Assess what you think he did for his own credibility based on his actions.
  • Evaluate what you would do if you found an unethical practice in your workplace. Would your response depend on the severity of the unethical practice?  

For the second part of your post, select any one of the following bullet points. Attempt to spread the bullet points out among class members (e.g., not have one bullet point answered by all course participants).

  • Provide a couple examples of potential unethical practices in your organization that could be considered very minor and that people have come to “accept” as opposed to reporting. How, exactly, does the organization or its members respond to the unethical practices? Assess any inconsistencies in the organizational response. Recommend any alternative response.
  • Create a continuum of severity model regarding ethical practices in organizations and discuss your model. How did you arrive at the model you created? Propose how an organization might use your severity continuum model.
  • Justify why you think that people tend to accept some unethical practices while others are not accepted. Propose three or four key steps an organization might take to build more consistent ethical decisions and actions.

Conclude your post with a three or four sentence summary of the most important point, lesson, or takeaways from your research and analysis for your initial post.
 

Provide a substantive (500–1,000 words) initial discussion post. Justify your answers with examples and reasoning. Comment on the initial postings of at least two peers. Your responses to other initial posts must be a 100 to 200 word minimum each.

By the due date assigned post your initial response to the Discussion Area.

Before the end of the week, begin commenting on at least two of your peers’ responses. You can ask technical questions or respond generally to the overall experience. Be objective, clear, and concise. Always use constructive language, even in criticism, to work toward the goal of positive progress.

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