186 review 2 - Paradox Inconsistency between a theory and...

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Paradox Inconsistency between a theory and the facts of a case – The standard theory of whistleblowing is inconsistent with what we know about whistleblowers. The Standard Theory The whistleblower is being disloyal to his organization. Since disloyalty is usually considered wrong, the whistleblowing must be justified. According to the standard theory, whistleblowing is justified when: – (S1) The organization to which the would-be whistleblower belongs will, through its product or policy, do serious harm to the public (whether to users of its product, to innocent bystanders, or to the public at large) – (S2) The would-be whistleblower has identified that threat of harm, reported it to her immediate superior, making clear both the threat itself and the objection to it, and concluded that the supervisor will do nothing effective. – (S3) The would-be whistleblower has exhausted other internal procedures within the organization (for example, by going up the organizational ladder as far as allowed) – or at least made use of as many internal procedures as the danger to others and her own safety make reasonable. Whistleblowing is morally required when, in addition: – (S4) The would-be whistleblower has (or can get) evidence that would convince a reasonable, impartial observer that her view of the threat is correct. – (S5) The would-be whistleblower has good reason to believe that revealing the threat will (probably) prevent the harm at reasonable cost (all things considered). People have a moral obligation to prevent serious harm to others if they can do so with little cost to themselves. – Whistleblowing is a form of “minimally decent Samaritanism” (doing what is morally required) rather than “good Samaritanism” (going well beyond the moral minimum) Three Paradoxes Whistleblowers are not just minimally decent Samaritans. They are Good Samaritans because they always act at considerable risk to career, and generally, at considerable risk to their financial security and personal relations. Often whistleblowing takes place after the harm has been done. – Preventing harm is not the only justification. – Setting the record straight (and perhaps bringing those responsible to justice) also justifies whistleblowing.
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186 review 2 - Paradox Inconsistency between a theory and...

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