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Whistle blowing is informing on illegal and unethical practices in the workplace It is becoming increasingly common as employees speak out about their ethical concerns at work It can have disastrous consequences for the individual as well as threatening the survival of the organization that is being complained about In this issue philosopher Sissela Bok asserts that although blowing the whistle is often justified it does involve dissent accusations and a breach of loyalty to the employer But on the other hand Robert A Larmer an associate professor of philosophy argues that attempting to stop illegal or unethical company activities may be the highest type of company loyalty an employee can display Under what circumstances if any is whistle blowing morally justified Some people have argued that whistle blowing is never justified because employees have absolute obligations of confidentiality and loyalty to the organization for which they work People who argue this way see no difference between employees who reveal trade secrets by selling information to competitors and whistle blowers who disclose activities harmful to others This position is similar to another held by some business people that the sole obligation of corporate executives is to make a profit for the stockholders If this were true corporate executives would have no obligations to the public However no matter what ones special obligation one is never exempt from the general obligations we have to our fellow human beings One of the most fundamental of these obligations is not to cause harm to others Corporate executives are no more exempt from this obligation than other people Corporations in democratic societies are run with the expectations that they will function in ways that are compatible with the public interest Corporations in democratic societies also run with the expectations that they will not only obey the law governing their activities but will not do anything that undermines basic democratic processes such as bribing public officials In addition to
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