Being a whistle-blower in an organization takes both courage and confidence. Unfortunately, many employees fear retaliation if they were to report a questionable practice. Despite the increasing legal protections, retaliation rates remain high, according to the National Business Ethics Survey. “Twenty-one percent of U.S. workers who reported misconduct said they experienced retaliation, up from 12 percent in 2007” (Meinert, 2014, p. 62). The Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act was enacted in 2002 as Congress’ response to corporate scandals at Enron and WorldCom. Most of the Act focuses on financial reporting and internal control requirements for publicly traded companies, but Congress also included provisions to protect insiders who report questionable practices. “In March 2014, the Supreme Court dramatically increased the number of companies that could be sued for retaliation against those who blow the whistle on securities fraud” (Meinert, 2014, p. 60). According to Barnett (1992), “Some say that whistleblowers are noble characters, willing to sacrifice personally and professionally to expose organizational practices that are wasteful, fraudulent, or harmful to the public safety. Others suggest that whistleblowers are, by and large, disgruntled employees who maliciously and recklessly accuse individuals they feel have wronged them in order to attain their own selfish goals.” As such, HR managers and professionals need to focus on creating an ethical culture that promotes transparency and accountability and where whistle blowing is encouraged and rewarded when the information benefits the organization. Furthermore, a policy must be drafted that states the protocol for whistle blowing. Many organizations have invested in a third-party whistle-blowing hotline where employees can call anonymously and discuss their concerns. By having a whistle-blowing policy, all employees of an organization will know that their decisions may result in disciplinary actions and/or termination.
Drawing on the material in the background readings and doing additional research, please prepare a 3- to 4-page paper (not including the cover and reference pages) in which you:
- Research and discuss the history of whistle blowing.
- Why do you believe whistle blowing can be difficult for most employees in organizations?
- How does whistle blowing impact the culture of an organization?
- As an HR Manager, how would you promote whistle blowing in your organization?
- In your organization, is it better to be a whistle-blower or follow the status quo? Explain why.
Meinert, D. (2014). Are you listening? HR Magazine, June 2014 Issue.
Barnett, T. (1992). Why Your Company Should Have A Whistleblowing Policy. Sam Advanced Management Journal, Autumn, 1992, pp. 37–42.