MBA Programme STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT WHISTLEBLOWING AN ADVANTAGE TO THE ORGANIZATION Prepared By: | | Abstract. This paper studies the topic the advantages of whistle blowing to an organization. Generally when there is whistle blowing in the external environment of a company its causes all kinds of negative publicity. However, there are some effects of the whistle blowing which can provide certain advantage to a particular organization. This advantage is possible majorly if there is internal exposure providing competitive advantages to an organization.
Also included are the methods which can be used as procedures for a successful internal whistle blowing. Keywords: Whistle Blowing; Internal Exposure; Competitive Advantage Introduction: WHISTLEBLOWING There are various cases of whistle blowing in the history and the past the most recent one being the whistle blowing of Glaxosmithkline company. Whistle blowing can be defined as an exposure of any activity labeled as illegal or unethical for a particular person. In other famous twisted cases of whistle blowing include the cases of Mr. Douglas blowing whistle on the company TAP.
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This case provides the exact picture of whistle blowing. Mr. Dougles did believe that there were certain things happening within the company which were wrong. So he blew the whistle externally causing lot of damage to the company but after the damages were paid the authorities found out that nothing was wrong in the company and evidence Mr douglas provided were presented in a different view. The internal exposure could have a comparatively less harm done to the society. Internal exposure has certain advantages over the external environment.
Firstly the company can rectify its mistake or error before any external exposure is done. Which can lead to advantage of the company’s goodwill brand image is still the same in minds of customers. Even the population is unaffected of the major effects of things possible from the continuation of the unethical or illegal acts being carried around in the company. When the whistle blowing is done internally the chances of a cleaning up the act within the organization without suffering negative publicity is very high compared to whistle blown externally.
When a person exposes certain acts labelled unethical or illegal to a superior and the person in charge does his job of correcting them this correcting activity can prove to be a competitive advantage to the company. The trust worthy ethical staff can be the competitive advantage a firm needs. Internal reporting do offers certain benefits to the employers, workers and general public and the organization is given a opportunity to deal with the problem without the outside interruptions, pressure and publicity. Literature Review
The literature review on whistle blowing has placed a major amount of efforts on identifying the definition of whistle blowing and exploring the motives as well as the usage of strategy in the event of exposing an illegal or unethical activity. Definitions of Whistle Blowing There is no universal concept or definition of whistle blowing written and circulated around in the books. But it can be defined as exposure done by an employee or a former employee of any professional misconduct happening in the work environment.
Whistle blowing is an act used for centuries, an act used for exposing any information that a worker believes is the evidence of violating any law or regulation, mismanagement and also a threat to public safety and health in or near the work zone. Whistle blowing is stated by many to be a complex procedure having it effect on the person and his career. Hence, a good procedure is required for a good whistle blowing to take place and the company and the environment should be open to accusations about the illegal or unethical act.
An unethical act can also be a person stealing stationary from the office to selling or trading information of the company to its competitors. Mostly employees are the first one to find out of the unethical activity being carried around in the organization but it is loss of job or loss of friends or even it is their probable promotion which makes them the last one the speak about the activity. Research speaks out that the person who blows the whistle is basically a trusted loyal employee. Also indicates chances that the person is a role model employee.
It is the employees who have the responsibility to act ethically when he comes across evidence of such an unethical activity being done in the organization. For this very reason the employee should always maintain his ethics. The internal picture goes from the perfect employee to a company pest if the company is involved in the unethical or illegal act. This company pest at times is the public hero as he exposes the unethical acts of the company. Ethics are not found daily in market or even changed in a fort night, ethics comes from culture and the upbringing an employee has.
It is very important now as a society that we encourage these ethics in the schools and university level and even in the basic households. By doing this the ethics of the child will be strong who will in future be an ethical employee. Motives For Whistle Blowing Whistle blowing is necessary to overcome an unethical activity being carried on in the organization which can cause major distress and/or fatal injuries to the workers or the general public. Internal whistle blowing can help in improving quality of work done as well as the quality of the product produced.
Whistle blowing can uncover lots of wrong things happening in the factory or the work environment which are probably causing damage to the factory or the office environment. It also helps to reduce and nullify the problem before the problem gets out of hand. Hence whistle blowing is important to follow the vision of the company and also to promote a better ethics in the work environment. Basically the main cause or the motive of whistle blowing is the ethics of a particular person standing up for anything he/she believes is wrong and has evidence of the particular act.
Whistle blowing is a very rough process the person has to go through as he is standing up against an entire organization if whistle blowing is done externally. How Strategy comes into play In the view of the person going to expose there is not much strategy. When someone is planning to expose an activity labeled as unethical or illegal he/she needs to formulate a strategy to expose the whole act. With strategy he can do so with full efficiency and also he can gather all the proof he requires to make the exposure a successful one.
The person needs to have enough sufficient evidence to make the exposure first to a reasonable person. In the view of the manager of the organization, the manager at first should ensure that anyone who has information of an unethical or illegal activity happening in the organization is able to contact the manager. The openness of the manager for people to report such things to him can be the competitive advantage the firm needs to outsmart its opponents. When the whistle blowing takes place it can cause more harm to the opponent than to the organization the whistle blower works for ( in case of whistle blowing on the industry).
The manager has to make the environment of the company very open to such sorts of complains of people. Manager can use certain steps to create awareness towards the right and wrong for a worker: – * Manager should conduct seminars to know what is right or wrong for the employees. If the seminar is the one where the participant give their opinion then these seminar will also help the manager get the idea of the employee sense of right or wrong. Seminar should also discuss the following: – * Negative effects of the mal practice, for the company and the worker. Workers should know what all traditions are accepted and unaccepted in the organization, like favors gifts etc. * How being ethical can help promote the organization. * Seminar should also be to communicate with the workers of the entire whistle blowing process and the advantages of the process. * If any sort of unethical activity is being exposed manager and the company should deal with it severely, even is the culprit is from outside the organization, setting an example for the workers. Managers should make it sure to the workers that the workers can approach him if they have any sort of trouble. Also make it clear to the entire work force that u are qualified and equipped to tackle the problem. Managers and the top level managers should force the accountability of every action on every person responsible * Make the workers union make sure they do discuss it with every group of new comer in the union. * Manager should also have the authority to act on the complaints in whatever way possible and the company should not interfere in the matter and make it more complicated. It is never an easy task to report an incident of a criminal activity, so manager should make sure that everybody trusts his sense of concern in matters of whistle blowing. * Manager should also protect the worker who is reporting the wrong doing. The manager should value their secrecy. There is a possible chance that the person who reports the illegal activity is a target of discrimination and can also be seen as the opponent to the illegal activity. Manager should have another strategy which helps the workers to raise concern over any activity without reporting to their immediate superior, complaint/feedback boxes, posters, outside personal they can contact etc. * Manager should also keep in mind to double check the accusation as there are two sides of a coin. * Managers should create a sense of responsibility into the workers of not keeping quite as it is they who usually first find out the illegal activity. Managers should also use his powers to rectify the errors of the system and also support the whistle blower. Once the manager has got the complaint the manager should make sure appropriate actions are taken towards the complaint. Strategy is used in helping people to come forward and report and also to counteract that illegal activity. Strategy is needed by both the parties in a whistle blowing operation the manager and the worker who finds out the information and is willing to expose the illegal activities.
Competitive Advantage of a firm over the other Competitive advantage is the advantage that you or your firm holds over your competitor. In the context of this article competitive advantage is to the company which is open to the whistle blowing internally and also has ethical employees. When a person finds out something and reports anything illegal or unethical, it is best that the company solves the problem else it will be negative publicity and also there are certain chances that the illegal activity be fatal to some workers or the general public.
Hence it is always better to act fast on the internal exposure of the problem. This sense of responsibility the workers and the company have towards the society can be the competitive advantage a particular firm holds. There is possibility of nothing of the internal whistle blowing procedures happening in the competitors firm, which also in theory creates chances of fatal injuries to workers or general public or negative publicity of your competitor. Giving the first company advantage the advantage they require to acquire more market share.
Conclusion Strategic procedures are used by any whistle blower to expose anything illegal or unethical to the immediate superior or the governing body. The governing bodies are suggested to use strategies to implement certain procedure or set of rules which make it easier for anyone to come and lodge a complaint against any unethical or illegal activity. These rules and procedures can help the organization to attain and retain their slight competitive advantage over other companies by avoiding negative publicity.
References Porter, M. E, 1985, Competitive Advantage, New York: Free Press, 26 Gerald Vinten, 2000, Whistleblowing towards disaster prevention and management, Disaster prevention and management, Volume 9, Number 1 pg 18 -28. Vinten, G. (1999a), “A whistleblowing code for educational institutions”, International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 150-7. Glazer, M. P. and Glazer, P. M. (1989), The Whistleblowers. Exposing Corruption in Government and Industry, Basic Books Inc. , New York, NY.