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Term paper - whistleblowing

Term paper - whistleblowing - Mallory Carlson Professor...

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Mallory Carlson Professor Pettigrove PHIL 6 12 May 2005 A View on Whistle-Blowing The art of making a decision is one which requires the undivided moral attention of an individual due to the myriad ethical concerns involved in any decision-making process. This goes with out saying that one needs to take into account the numerous factors that ultimately influence the final product of the decision. The moral stance from which one decides on a course of action is dependent upon many factors, such as the individual’s personal motivation, the knowledge of the consequential effect upon themselves and others, the actual honor and integrity of the action, and many others, all of which are major ethical concerns for the individual making the decision. Considering the ethical process of making a decision when involved in the controversial act of whistle-blowing leaves one with many other moral factors to take into consideration. One is obliged to acknowledge added aspects of the decision-making process, such as confidentiality agreements, their reputation and the reputation of the company, whether or not they will be able to support themselves afterwards, and whether or not their future career or occupation will be largely affected by the decision to blow the whistle. The case of whistle-blowing examined in the film The Insider explores the ethical complexities and struggles faced by one (Jeffrey Wigand) when deciding whether or not to blow the whistle on a former employer, tobacco company Brown & Williamson. In Jeffrey’s specific case, he initially took the necessary moral precautions when deciding whether or not to release his information, yet he failed to examine the motives for his actions, consequently leading him to make the wrong choice. In short, due to the ethical setbacks A View on Whistle-Blowing - 1
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of his overall decision, Jeffrey Wigand definitely should not have blown the whistle on Brown & Williamson. Having taken into account all of the ethical concerns surrounding his decision, it seems blatantly clear that Jeffrey Wigand should not have blown the whistle on Brown & Williamson. Jeffrey was a man who held an incredibly powerful position in corporate America – the head of research at the cigarette company, Brown & Williamson. After having been fired for his inability to publicly control his anger, he is required by the CEO of the company (Mr. Sandefur) to sign a second confidentiality agreement due to the fact that he possesses more scientific knowledge than any other employee within the company and could potentially cause much harm to the company should he decide to release such privately owned information. Enraged by such an ultimatum (he is threatened by Mr. Sandefur should he choose not to sign it), Jeffrey initially acts out of anger and brashly tells Mr. Sandefur that he refuses to sign. However, after realizing that signing the agreement would be in his best interest as well as his family’s (because of his financial
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