Developing research questions -- Developing the framework for an ethical assessment -- Possible legitimation of whistleblowing policies -- Screening whistleblowing policies -- Towards what legitimation of whistleblowing?
Today's complex and decentralized organization gives rise to organizational needs for both loyalty and institutionalized whistle blowing. However, ethicists see a contradiction between both needs. This paper argues there is no such contradiction. It shows why earlier attempts to go beyond the dilemma are not satisfying. The solution proposed in this paper starts from an organizational perspective instead of an individual one. It does so by reframing the concept of loyalty into rational loyalty. This means that the object of loyalty (...) is not the physicality of an organization, but its corpus of explicit mission statement, goals, value statement and code of conduct. An implication is that organizations are – as their side of the duty of loyalty – obliged to institutionalize whistle blowing. (shrink)
There is an increasing recognition of the need to provide ways for people to raise concerns about suspected wrongdoing by promoting internal policies and procedures which offer proper safeguards to actual and potential whistleblowers. Many organisations in both the public and private sectors now have such measures and these display a wide variety of operating modalities: in-house or outsourced, anonymous/confidential/identified, multi or single tiered, specified or open subject matter, etc. As a result of this development, a number of guidelines and (...) policy documents have been produced by authoritative bodies. This article reviews the following five documents from a management perspective, the first two deal with the principles upon which legislation might be based and the others describing good management practice: the Council of Europe Resolution 1729 (COER); Transparency International ‘Recommended Principles for Whistleblowing Legislation’ (TI); European Union Article 29 Data Protection Working Party Opinion (EUWP); International Chamber of Commerce ‘Guidelines on Whistleblowing’ (ICC); and the British Standards Institute ‘Whistleblowing arrangements Code of Practice 2008 (BSI). (shrink)
This paper explores the possible impact of the recent legal developments on organizational whistleblowing on the autonomy and responsibility of whistleblowers. In the past thirty years numerous pieces of legislation have been passed to offer protection to whistleblowers from retaliation for disclosing organisational wrongdoing. An area that remains uncertain in relation to whistleblowing and its related policies in organisations, is whether these policies actually increase the individualisation of work, allowing employees to behave in accordance with their conscience and in line (...) with societal expectations or whether they are another management tool to control employees and protect organisations from them. The assumptions of whistleblower protection with regard to moral autonomy are examined in order to clarify the purpose of whistleblower protection at work. The two extreme positions in the discourse of whistleblowing are that whistleblowing legislation and policies either aim to enable individual responsibility and moral autonomy at work, or they aim to protect organisations by allowing them to control employees and make them liable for ethics at work. (shrink)
This article argues that whilst the idea of whistleblowing as a positive duty to do good or to prevent harm may be defendable, legislating that duty is not feasible. We develop our argument by identifying rights and duties involved in whistleblowing as two clusters: one of justice and one of benevolence. Legislative arguments have evolved to cover the justice issues and the tendency exists of extending rights and duties into the realm of benevolence. This article considers the problematic assumptions and (...) implications of whistleblowing as a positive duty, by examining the extent to which the Good Samaritan argument holds with regard to whistleblowing. We argue that three criteria necessary for whistleblowing as a legally enforceable positive duty are not met, namely that we need to be able to (1) specify who should know what, (2) minimize the risk to the whistleblower and (3) adequately deal with mistaken concerns being raised. (shrink)
The purpose of this study was to explore the motivational structures of external whistleblowers involved in the decision to blow the whistle by applying MEC theory and the laddering technique. Using both soft and hard laddering methods, data were collected from 37 Korean external whistleblowers. Results revealed that the means-end chain of external whistleblowers was the hierarchical linkage among two concrete attributes, two functional consequences, and one terminal value. The extant whistleblowing literature has either made assumptions about whistleblowers’ motivations when (...) developing models or has drawn indirect inferences from measures of other variables. Our study is the first with an explicit and empirical focus on whistleblowers’ motivations. The findings provide evidence of the motivational structures of external whistleblowers that consist of a set of complex paths linked by multi-layered motivators. This research will be helpful in designing and reviewing whistleblowing programs for organizations, regulatory agencies, and journalists. (shrink)
This paper offers a speculative elaboration on downward workplace mobbing - the intentional and repeated inflictions of physical or psychological harm by superiors on subordinates within an organization. The authors cite research showing that workplace mobbing is not a marginal fact in today's organizations and that downward workplace mobbing is the most prevalent form. The authors also show that causes of and facilitating circumstances for downward workplace mobbing, mentioned by previous research, match current organizational shifts taking place within a context (...) of globalisation. This paper argues that it is not the organizational shifts themselves which are to "blame", but an inadequate transformation of leadership and power in reaction to those shifts. Using Foucault's power-knowledge-rules of right triad, the authors offer an explanation for downward workplace mobbing beyond the organizational changes themselves. More precisely, as the organizational changes can be characterized by a new power/knowledge bond calling forth new rules of right, downward workplace mobbing could be seen as manifestations of power outside of the delineations drawn by these new rules of right. In other words, downward workplace mobbing is pathology of current organizational shifts, resulting from not acting out the full ethical potential of the discourse of excellence, adventure, creativity and responsibility, which characterizes these shifts. (shrink)
Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) has grown considerably over the past three decades. One form of SRI, engagement-SRI, is today by far the most practiced form of SRI (in assets managed) and has the potential to mainstream SRI even further. However, lack of formalized engagement procedures and evaluation tools leave the engagement practice too opaque for such a mainstreaming. This article can be considered as a first step in the development of a standard for the engagement practice. By developing an engagement (...) heuristic, this article offers a more transparent engagement dialog. Drawing on Stevenson's and Austin's speech-act theories, this article develops a classification of management's responses to the signaling of allegations and controversies on two dimensions: a factual dimension concerning (dis)agreements on factual claims and an attitudinal dimension concerning (dis)agreements on responsibilities, values, and norms. On the basis of the distinctions this article develops, the authors provide for a synoptic table and offer a next-step heuristic for the engagement process that started with signaling a concern to management. The article uses an engagement logic that, while keeping the exit option for the investor open, allows management to address signaled concerns without having to let down or to opt out at the first setback in the dialog process between investor and investee corporation. (shrink)
This paper provides an exploration of whistleblowing as a protracted process, using secondary data from 868 cases from a whistleblower advice line in the UK. Previous research on whistleblowing has mainly studied this phenomenon as a one-off decision by someone perceiving wrongdoing within an organisation to raise a concern or to remain silent. Earlier suggestions that whistleblowing is a process and that people find themselves inadvertently turned into whistleblowers by management responses, have not been followed up by a systematic study (...) tracking the path of how a concern is repeatedly raised by whistleblowers. This paper provides a quantitative exploration of whistleblowing as a protracted process, rather than a one-off decision. Our research finds that the whistleblowing process generally entails two or even three internal attempts to raise a concern before an external attempt is made, if it is made at all. We also find that it is necessary to distinguish further between different internal as well as external whistleblowing recipients. Our findings suggest that whistleblowing is a protracted process and that this process is internally more protracted than previously documented. The overall pattern is that whistleblowers tend to search for a more independent recipient at each successive attempt to raise their concern. Formal whistleblower power seems to determine which of the available recipients are perceived as viable and also what the initial responses are in terms of retaliation and effectiveness. (shrink)
The problem of opportunity discovery is at the heart of entrepreneurial activity. Cognitive limitations determine the search for and the analysis of information and, as a consequence, constrain the identification of opportunities. Moreover, typical personal characteristics – locus of control, need for independence and need for achievement – suggest that entrepreneurs will tend to take a central position in their stakeholder environments and thus fail to adapt to the complexity of stakeholder relationships in their entrepreneurial activity. We approach this problem (...) by adopting a network perspective on stakeholder management. We propose a heuristic approach of stakeholder analysis, which requires two mappings of the entrepreneurial constituents. The first mapping focuses on current interactions between the entrepreneur and their stakeholders, while the second focuses on a specific issue and the stakeholders that constitute it. In effect, such a stakeholder analysis requires entrepreneurs to use the complexity of stakeholder relationships in order to go beyond their cognitive limitations and thus facilitate the discovery of new opportunities. As we will argue, this has clear implications for the ethics and activities of entrepreneurs. (shrink)
As Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) enters the mainstream of professional and institutional investment practice, some perplexities arise. Some SRI market participants are well schooled in finance but are hesitative as to how to apply non-financial criteria in the management of portfolios. Governments too are giving SRI more attention and, in some countries, are discussion whether and how to regulate the SRI market. Advocacy groups are targeting SRI projects through media campaigns using political discourse. Many of the pertinent questions that come (...) with these perplexities are of the philosophical or ethical type and concern legitimisation, demarcation of responsibilities, interpretation of norms and policy formulation. The inclusion of non-financial criteria into investment decision-making leads to a 'puzzle in SRI' for which this article offers a solution. The puzzle arises when the day-to-day implementation of an SRIpolicy coincides with the process of administering justice. Three questions make up that puzzle: (1) what should an investor do when allegations arise about a corporation, (2) what should an investor do when a corporation is brought before a court, (3) what should an investor do when a corporation is found guilty by a court. This article argues, by distinguishing between the rationality of the investor and that of the judge, that allegations, court cases or court verdicts should not be reasons to disinvest from a corporation. This article offers examples from investor practice and points out in which way allegations, court cases and court verdicts make sense for investor behaviour. (shrink)
Historically, whistleblowing research has predominantly focused on psychological and organisational conditions of raising concerns about alleged wrongdoing. Today, however, policy makers increasingly start to look at institutional frameworks for protecting whistleblowers and responding to their concerns. This article focuses on the latter by exploring the roles that trade unions might adopt in order to improve responsiveness in the whistleblowing process. Research has consistently demonstrated that the two main reasons that deter people from reporting perceived wrongdoing are fear of retaliation and (...) a belief that the wrongdoing is unlikely to be rectified. In this article, we argue that trade unions have an important part to play in dealing with both these inhibiting factors but this requires them to be appropriately engaged in the whistleblowing process and willing to take a more proactive approach to negotiations. We use Vandekerckhove’s 3-tiered whistleblowing model and Kaine’s model of union voice level to structure our speculative analysis of the various ways in which trade unions can interact with whistleblowers and organisations they raise concerns about alleged wrongdoing in, as well as agents at a regulatory level. Our articulation of specific roles trade unions can play in the whistleblowing process uses examples from the UK as to how these trade union roles are currently linked to and embedded in employment law and whistleblowing regulation. (shrink)
Since the 1990s, stakeholder theory has become a central framework within the field of business ethics, as much for academics as for practitioners. The definition of what a stakeholder is, is always attributed to Freeman in his book Stakeholder Management from 1984. It is also common to contrast Freeman’s definition to the 1963 definition from the Stanford Research Institute. However, a largely forgotten work is that by Rhenman from 1964.This paper compares the respective stakeholder conceptualisations of Rhenman and Freeman. A (...) semantic analysis of their work reveals the differences in assumptions and implications underlying Freeman’s and Rhenman’s definitions with regard to the ontological status of a corporation, the nature of the stake and the role of management. Some explanations are formulated as to why Freeman has apparently eclipsed Rhenman. (shrink)
In this issue we combine four stand-alone articles with another four articles that form part of a special theme. In doing so, we stretch a very broad spectrum, from micro-level behaviour to metaphysics.
This introduction to the special issue on information asymmetries in socially responsible investment introduces the concept of information asymmetries and offers an overview of how such information asymmetries pertain to SRI. We first point out that all Abanking@, in its different metiers, always is concerned with information asymmetries. That introductory concept is succeeded by an overview of the different metiers in banking. We try to diminish a general information asymmetry regarding the financial professions in general and their scope for SRI (...) more specifically. We then distinguish several types of information asymmetry that may be at play in SRI-projects and introduce the contributions in this issue. (shrink)
This paper analyses whistleblowing from the perspective of Floridi’s information ethics. Although there is a vast body of literature on whistleblowing using micro-ethical or meso-ethical frameworks, whistleblowing has previously not been researched using a macro-ethical or ecopoietic framework. This paper is the first to explicitly do so. Empirical research suggests whistleblowing is a process rather than a single decision and action. I argue this process evolves depending on how whistleblowing is facilitated throughout that process, i.e. responding to whistleblowers and providing (...) information about whistleblowing activity. The paper develops a typology of whistleblowing facilitation to complement Floridi’s IE. The findings suggest that for whistleblowing to be beneficial to the informational environment, facilitation must filter out untrue whistleblowing, and achieve closure with the whistleblower, especially when whistleblowing is mistaken or deliberately false. I also find that publishing information about whistleblowing activity can be beneficial for the informational environment, but only if all organizations or all regulators do so. (shrink)
This paper submits that an intersubjective account of integrity is able to solve current confusion and cynicism provoked by organisations stating their integrity. First, I argue that regarding organisations as persons causes much of this confusion. Second, I assert that a useful account of integrity in an organisational context must place central importance on the notion of human interaction. With regard to this criterion I examine the meta-ethical assumptions of three accounts of integrity: objective, subjective and intersubjective. The intersubjective account (...) of integrity is most suited for an organisational context because it recasts integrity as ‘talking the walk’ and as ‘towards integrity’. (shrink)
Labor and Global Justice combines conceptual and theoretical perspectives across a multiplicity of relevant differences, both geographical and disciplinary, to develop a transnational perspective on labor and justice and to make clear how justice requires a rethinking of the relation between labor and global capital.