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MarkusGoneAwry
03-14-2002, 03:02 AM
Does whistleblowing violate company loyalty?

A couple of arguments I have heard:

Yes: Philosopher Sissela Bok: Although sometimes justified, it involves dissent, accusation and a breach of loyalty to employer.

No: Professor Robert A. Larmer: Whistle blowing may be the most layal thing a employee can do if it was a moral decision.

Any thoughts? (I realize the arguments I have up there are broad summaries).

ShadowWarrior
03-14-2002, 03:41 AM
If a company is doing/allowing/turning a blind ear to something which the whistle could be blown on, then it is surely not deserving of your loyalty in the first place. If the company was otherwise good, wouldn't it be better to say to management that unless X is changed, you will be forced to report them.

Also, bear this in mind: If the company felt you were doing something wrong/illegal then they would have no problem with reporting/firing you... where is the loyalty in that??

MarkusGoneAwry
03-14-2002, 04:12 AM
Also, bear this in mind: If the company felt you were doing something wrong/illegal then they would have no problem with reporting/firing you... where is the loyalty in that??

The thing with this is that I think loyalty can be one way. In a relationship, one may be loyal to another without that loyalty being returned.

Good point about the management. However, this argument assumes that whistle blowing is not a loyal act, but it is justifiable because the management is forcing you due to turning a blind ear.

China Guy
03-14-2002, 06:21 AM
You might ask the mid and high level managers at Enron this very question.

ElvisL1ves
03-14-2002, 08:39 AM
I think the answer to the OP is clear if you know who you're working for. Are you:
- Working for the company,
- Working for yourself using the company as a means of income,
- Or working to make the world a better place in some way, or at least to operate, using the company as a means to do so?

I'd rather use the latter answer myself, but YMMV of course.

Spiny Norman
03-14-2002, 08:50 AM
Does whistleblowing violate company loyalty?

Yes, by definition, I'd say.

On the other hand, if a company is doing something illegal, immoral or otherwise reprehensible, one should consider if loyalty towards it isn't somewhat misplaced - and if there aren't other, more important, loyalties to consider.

I have a hard time seeing how - to take the ever-present Enron example - the higher echelons at Enron were owed any loyalty at all from the rank-and-file.

S. Norman

David Simmons
03-14-2002, 08:56 AM
Originally posted by MarkusGoneAwry
Does whistleblowing violate company loyalty?

A couple of arguments I have heard:

Yes: Philosopher Sissela Bok: Although sometimes justified, it involves dissent, accusation and a breach of loyalty to employer.

No: Professor Robert A. Larmer: Whistle blowing may be the most layal thing a employee can do if it was a moral decision.

Any thoughts? (I realize the arguments I have up there are broad summaries).

It certainly does.

And loyalty to some companies should be breached. There is a higher loyalty involved if a company is doing something that is destructive to the good order of the society in general. Loyalty to a company that its doing destructive acts is no different than the omerta of criminal society.

None the less. Whistleblowers often wind up with the short end of the stick.

toadspittle
03-14-2002, 10:00 AM
Here's my take:

For an employee, Company Loyalty is a bad idea. Mainly because any real corporation in the U.S. is completely self-serving (as it needs to be, since its real pupose is to make money for its owners), and has no loyalty to its employees.

This point was driven home to me this past summer, when our company downsized the staff at all of its magazines. The corporate higher-ups axed people on my staff who had been here since the magazine was founded 25 years ago. These employees were sacrificed for the good of the company (i.e., keeping the profit margin up). What thanks did those employees get for decades of company loyalty? None.

In a war, you obey your commander's orders even it means you might die, since you are doing it for the good of your unit, your country, your ideals. But you can't extend the metaphor to the corporate world, despite the fact that the hierarchy appears similar.

There is no reason why an employee should have any company loyalty. The employee should be selfish and look out for her own best interests--because her employers are sure as hell looking out for theirs.

RickJay
03-14-2002, 10:24 AM
Originally posted by MarkusGoneAwry
Does whistleblowing violate company loyalty?

Company loyalty extends only as far as the limits of business ethics and the law. "Company loyalty" means simply being honest and ethical in your dealings with your employer, acting in the employer's best interests in your professional dealings, and avoiding conflicts of interest.

Company loyalty does NOT require one to tolerate illegalities. For that matter, it cuts both ways; I would not expect my company to be "loyal" to me if I did something illegal. If I struck a co-worker or ripped off a customer, I would expect them to fire me. Similarly, if they act illegally, they can expect me to rat them out. My relationship with my employer does not require either of us to be a party to breaking the law or committing obviously unethical or immoral acts.

Riboflavin
03-14-2002, 12:32 PM
Does whistleblowing violate company loyalty?

Some kinds of whistleblowing wouldn't be disloyal to a company, such as reporting a low-level problem to upper management. Some would, such as reporting violations to an outside agency.

OTOH, the use of the word 'violate' seems a little odd. "Company loyalty" pretty much translates to "well, I'm nicely bent over, I hope they use vaseline", so it's not really something I'd worry about violating unless I thought there might be a consequence for me.

JRDelirious
03-14-2002, 07:11 PM
All this, of course, hingeing on there being such a thing as "company" loyalty. Employment is a simple trade of labor for payment. I'm having a hard time with the idea that you owe a mere employer anything that can be possibly called "loyalty". An obligation to keep trust as long as THEY keep trust, yes. But being a "company man" in the face of immoral actions by the company is just utter cowardice.