Would You Say Something?

After the Enron collapse and the financial meltdown in 2008, people have been questioning the ethics of business. Should CEO’s make as much money as they do? How many companies are involved with illegal transactions? I came across a blog that discussed business ethics and social responsibility. He highlighted that “it seems like lately all we hear about is the unethical acts of businesses.” And this is true. “Occupy Wall Street” and the Enron collapse back 2002 feed the media in raising awareness of unethical business. Dealing with “Occupy Wall Street,” Just because CEO’s have been making more money, doesn’t mean they’re being unethical. But when companies are unethical, someone should speak up. The blog mentioned people known as whistleblowers. They are people who are “encouraged” by companies to speak up when they see something going wrong in a company. Even though whistleblowers are needed to make sure a company doesn’t mess up, I don’t believe people are always “encouraged” to speak up. Enron is a perfect example. People were committing illegal activities and others who knew about it were either paid to keep their mouth shut or were afraid to speak up. It will be interesting to see in the future if whistleblowers help companies stay in check, or if we will see another Enron arise.



7 responses to “Would You Say Something?

  1. I agree that even though companies claim that they now have whistleblowers who are “encouraged” by the company to speak up when something is going wrong, I think employees still find it difficult to step up and tell the company what it needs to improve on. Whistleblowers are still employees of the company and are put in a difficult position because they don’t want to jeopardize their own position at the company by coming forward. I don’t think that this internal form of corporate regulation is enough, there needs to be some kind of unbiased regulation in order to solve these ethical problems.

  2. Many people will sit here and say that they would always stand up against unethical business practices because it is the “right thing” to do, but at the end of the day people are greedy. Of course, there will be many people who would stand up against unethical activities, but in my opinion, the majority of people will not. When push comes to shove, the majority of people are looking out for their own good and to support their families. I agree with Tara that internal corporate regulation isn’t enough, and that where should be some sort of external regulation group that wouldn’t be kissing away extra thousands of their pay check to blow the whistle on some dishonest business activity.

  3. From looking at the blog I don’t think employees have assigned whistleblowers, but people who speak up against their company’s wrongdoing are then know as whistleblowers. Of course companies say that they are encouraging whistleblowing, but we know this is not the case. Like you said, Enron is a perfect example. There were multiple instances in the case we read about whistleblowers getting told to “shut up” or given promotions to keep them quiet. Unfortunately, whistleblowers are in a difficult position, they are making the correct moral decision, by exposing the company’s wrongdoings, but they may also be breaching a contract they signed with that company. Obviously, once they do this, they will probably need to look for a new job, just another perk of being the whitsleblower. And if that isn’t enough, when they apply to jobs, the companies know they were previously a whistleblower. Now, ideally, companies would commend that action, but in today’s work world, they may be looking more for someone to do the work and not ask questions. I don’t think Enron will be the last time we see whistles go unblown and not much seems to have been done to prevent it from happening again.

  4. I like this blog, I think it is always a tough call if you want to whistle blow or not. One one hand, I understand the business ethics of it, but on the other, would you blow the whistle on a good friend/close co-worker whom you have trusted for years? It is obviously not an easy call in that sense, but my main concern is: if you whistle blow, are you liable for any issues you were involved in? I know that the largest whistle-blowing payment was just made to an employee at UBS I believe, however the issue was, he is now in jail. Does that mean that he had to turn in himself and serve jail time in order to get the money? In that case, I am not sure if I would whistle blow and maybe just take my chances hopefully not being caught (as bad as it seems).

  5. The idea of whistle-blowing is something that is so noble in principle, but so impractical in reality. If you look at someone with a family, kids and a mortage, the idea of voluntarily forfeiting your job seems preposterous. In the end the situation has to be right for someone to be willing to enter the unemployment market.

  6. I believe that ethical practice in business is essential for good business and that every company has a responsibility to maintain an ethical standard. That being said, the existence of “Whistle Blowers” within a company does pose an interesting problem with respect to relationships between coworkers. A certain level of trust is required for an office culture to function effectively and when coworkers start whistle blowing, they get each other in trouble with their superiors. This leads to a breakdown of trust and sense of community. It’s hard to find a balance of culture between ethical responsibility and trust or familiarity.

  7. You say those problems or failures “feed the media.” Do you think the media is only interested in the stories for their own sake? Or, is the media a reflection of the population and so the feeding is of people through the media.

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