Identify the ethics issues in whistleblowing
Course:- Other Subject
Reference No.:- EM13881333

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Question 1:

Discuss how each of De George's (2010) five guidelines (norms) for multinational companies operating in less developed countries is drawn from key concepts within ethical theories and theories of corporate responsibility. Illustrate your discussion by applying at least three of De George's guidelines to a case of your choosing.

Your answer must demonstrate a sound understanding of the significance and relevance of De George's guidelines. There are no marks for simply rewriting the 5 guidelines from the text or giving definitions of ethical theories or corporate responsibility.

Question 2:

First, read the article, Three Australian whistleblowing sagas: lessons for internal and external regulation.

Second, identify the ethics issues in whistleblowing generally, and those raised in the article.

Third, explain De George's (2010) five guidelines for permissible and obligatory whistleblowing and Gene James'(see Moodle) critique of them. According to De George's guidelines, did the CEO of King Edward Memorial Hospital (see the article below) have authority or a duty to whistleblow? Why?

Finally, identify two key measures organisations should take to prevent, or at least limit, the need for whistleblowing.

Question 3:

Read the article, Samsung washing machines linked to house fires (see the article printed below) and discuss the consumer production ethics issues it raises from the perspectives of contract theory (5 marks) and due care theory (3 marks). Given the issues raised and your discussion of them, what recommendation/s can you make to Samsung to ensure the company upholds high standards of product safety?

Case for Question 2

Three Australian whistleblowing sagas: lessons for internal and external regulation

Thomas A Faunce and Stephen N C Bolsin

Medical Journal of Australia 2004; 181 (1): 44-47.


? The protracted and costly investigations into Camden and Campbelltown hospitals (New South Wales), The Canberra Hospital (Australian Capital Territory), and King Edward Memorial Hospital (Western Australia) recently uncovered significant problems with quality and safety at these institutions.
? Each investigation arose after whistleblowers alerted politicians directly, having failed to resolve the problems using existing intra-institutional structures.
? None of the substantiated problems had been uncovered or previously resolved by extensive accreditation or national safety and quality processes; in each instance, the problems were exacerbated by a poor institutional culture of self-regulation, error reporting or investigation.
? Even after substantiation of their allegations, the whistleblowers, who included staff specialists, administrators and nurses, received little respect and support from their institutions or professions.
? Increasing legislative protections indicate the role of whistleblowers must now be formally acknowledged and incorporated as a "last resort" component in clinical- governance structures.
? Portable digital technology, if adequately funded and institutionally supported, may help to transform the conscience-based activity of whistleblowing into a culture of self-reporting, linked to personal and professional development.

The public inquiry into paediatric cardiac surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary is widely regarded as a watershed in the regulation of the medical profession, both in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.1 Many thought its recommended improvements in clinical governance pathways alone had the capacity to permanently enhance transparency and accountability in healthcare quality and safety.2 The Bristol Inquiry was provoked by a whistleblower, whose actions caused him to be shunned and vilified by many senior colleagues, to the brink of resignation.3 Yet, the dominant regulatory paradigm continues to be that whistleblowers are unnecessary in a system with overarching accreditation and regulatory councils, credentialling agencies, adequate peer review, adverse-events and mortality reviews, regular and thorough audits, risk-management strategies, and national data-based sentinel-event reporting.4 The authoritative assumptions appear to be that individuals motivated by conscience should somehow "retire" their concerns once they have formally involved the clinical-governance system, regardless of how inadequately it performs, that its structures operate best without them, and that it would be best for everyone if whistleblowers simply calmed down. Analysis of the following three healthcare sagas suggests this is not true.

Comparison of whistleblowing "sagas" at The Canberra Hospital, King Edward Memorial Hospital, and Camden and Campbelltown ("Cam") hospitals

Characteristics shared by all three:
? Problem not detected by sentinel-event reporting.
? Senior clinicians viewed clinical governance structures as adequate at time of complaint.
? Whistleblower(s) discouraged and criticised by the institution.
? Direct approach to politicians needed.
? Poor institutional culture proven.
? More than one inquiry held.

Characteristics shared by two:
? Attempt to suppress report (The Canberra Hospital and King Edward Memorial Hospital).
? Whistleblower(s) complaint(s) conclusively proven ("Cam" hospitals and King Edward Memorial Hospital); at The Canberra Hospital, the first inquiry was "critical of standard of care";; findings of second inquiry are pending.

Question 3 case

Samsung washing machines linked to house fires

Hannah Francis May 21, 2015 The Age http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/hometech/samsung-washing-machines- linked-to-house-fires-20150521-gh6w37.html

Emma Jordan had just put a load of washing in the machine and was taking a dip in her swimming pool when she heard the fire alarm go off. She raced back into her "dream home" on the Gold Coast, which her family had moved into only a month before, to see flames busting out of her laundry and soot everywhere.

"When the ambulance came and put the blood pressure monitor on she said, 'You alright love? ... Was that a Samsung washing machine?" Mrs Jordan said. The police and firefighters asked her the same question.

There have been 179 "incidents" nationwide involving six defective Samsung washing machine models since the company issued a recall for them in April 2013, Samsung said. The incidents include over-heating, smoking or catching fire. Fairfax Media believes these incidents may be under-reported as many state fire and emergency services do not record the detail of the brand of appliance that causes an electrical fire.

Despite the company's efforts to recall the machines, more than 83,000 of them are still out there, the company said, posing a serious fire risk to households.

The latest fire occurred on Wednesday. When Jacquie Briskham, of Salamander Bay in NSW, discovered the blaze, she managed to limit the damage by turning off her mains power and fighting the laundry fire with a garden hose.

Emma Jordan and her husband Craig were less fortunate. The fire left the house they share with their two sons covered in a "black, toxic, chemical grease" from the burning laundry products, Mrs Jordan, said. Most of their home contents were written off, in addition to ceiling and wall damage. Samsung has paid for the family's temporary accommodation since the fire in January. They were able to move back home last week.

A spokesperson for Fair Trading NSW said it believed Samsung had made "genuine repeated efforts to alert and contact consumers" about the recall. This included taking out newspaper advertisements, issuing media releases, contacting partner retailers to obtain customer details, and a letter-box drop. But 83,686 machines out of nearly 150,000 sold across Australia have yet to be serviced to prevent the water leakage fault which can cause electrical fires. Fair Trading's spokesperson said so many machines were unaccounted for because "some consumers may not be concerned by the recall announcements" and "some may not be aware that the recall applies to their appliance".

The Jordans and Ms Briskham said they were never contacted by Samsung or the stores where they bought the machines to alert them to the recall. Both stores - Rezzie's Betta Home Living in Forster and The Good Guys in Cairns - had the Jordans' and Ms Briskham's contact phone numbers on record. The Good Guys home appliances business manager Denis Harvey said it had provided Samsung with contact details where it had them on record. Ms Briskham said the recall procedure "sucks" and was "broken" and that it was a miracle no one had died as a result of the fault in the machines.


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Whistle blowing is called internal when any wrongdoing is reported to anyone within the organisation. On other hand, if wrongdoing is reported outside the organisation, it is called external. If wrongdoing is reported primarily harm to whistle blower alone is personal. If the primarily harm is done to other and reported is impersonal. Even the person who has left the company may blow the whistle. Whistle-blowers generally experience retaliation. In respect to the article, Three Australian whistleblowing sagas: lessons for internal and external regulation, the costly and protracted investigations into Campbell town and Camden hospitals in New South Wales, King Edward Memorial hospital in Western Australia and the Canberra Hospital in Australian Capital Territory, brought into light problems with the safety and quality there.

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