Yes, whistleblowing is a very touchy subject but it should also be a very thought out and a well-planned process if you are going to blow the whistle on someone within your business, whether it be internally or externally. The repercussions are something that should be expected when entering into or creating a situation where you are the whistle blower. When it is a situation of an internal whistle blower this is generally in the company’s best interest to find out about and deal with the situation at hand. It is where external whistle blowing can create much larger repercussions for the whistle blower. External whistle blowing is where the person at hand is making public allegations of serious wrong doing by the company to the media or external authorities. This is what is not in the company’s best interest and is viewed as disloyalty. This act of disloyalty is where the repercussions come into play and could lead to the termination of the employees’ contract.
Instilling best practise into “Tomorrows Doctors” is a good place to start as we can focus our attention on the younger generation and prepare them with the knowledge and ethics to behave in a more professional and respectable manner when such a situation occurs. Especially focusing on ensuring we emphasise the difference between reporting an incident and tattling on the person who holds the blame. It may be a long shot trying to make whistle blowing a more open and accepted in the short term, as everyone will still have their own beliefs in terms of blowing the whistle on their company or someone within the company.
Certainly with the younger generation we can imprint more of our values and openness of the subject but once again their own cultures and beliefs need to be considered as these may have been passed on through the generations.
With these types of situations there is not necessarily a right or wrong action to take. It comes down to what the person who holds the potentially incriminating information believes is the ethically best option to take. Taking into consideration all of the other possibilities and people involved within the situation. Also taking into account the pressure of holding such information as it may put the employee under a significant amount of stress. Because of the added stress and pressure they may be under we have to realise that they may not be thinking ethically.
In such a tough environment and judgement to make, we can only trust ourselves and our own moral beliefs of what is the right thing to do if such a situation arose. Business and Ethics courses are a good place to start to broaden our thinking and evaluate more situations that arrise in the workplace. Institutions such as the Open Polytechnic or Tai Poutini Polytechnic are able to supply such courses for people who are interested in expanding their knowledge of business and ethics.
To make whistle blowing a much more open and accepted act we can only do our best to supply the information and hope for the best that it can be used and interpreted to others and help them along the way. Like most things it will take time for people to understand and accept why people chose to blow the whistle.