David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 76 (4):413 - 426 (2007)
The ethical debate on whistleblowing concerns centrally the conflict between the right to political free speech and the duty of loyalty to the organization where one works. This is the moral dilemma of whistleblowing. Political free speech is justified because it is a central part of liberal democracy, whereas loyalty can be motivated as a way of showing consideration for one’s associates. The political philosophy of John Rawls is applied to this dilemma, and it is shown that the requirement of loyalty, in the sense that is needed to create the moral dilemma of whistleblowing, is inconsistent with that theory. In this sense, there is no moral dilemma of whistleblowing. This position has been labelled extreme in that it says that whistleblowing is always morally permitted. In a discussion and rejection of Richard De George’s criteria on permissible whistleblowing, it is pointed out that the mere rejection of loyalty will not lead to an extreme position; harms can still be taken into account. Furthermore, it is argued that the best way is, in this as in most other political circumstances, to weigh harms is provided by the free speech argument from democracy.
|Keywords||free speech justice as fairness loyalty permission for whistleblowing whistleblowing|
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Citations of this work BETA
Lars Lindblom (2011). The Structure of a Rawlsian Theory of Just Work. Journal of Business Ethics 101 (4):577-599.
Scott R. Paeth (2013). The Responsibility to Lie and the Obligation to Report. Journal of Business Ethics 112 (4):559-566.
Esther Pittroff (forthcoming). Whistle-Blowing Systems and Legitimacy Theory: A Study of the Motivation to Implement Whistle-Blowing Systems in German Organizations. Journal of Business Ethics.
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