Ethics Behind Whistleblowing

769 Words 4 Pages
When a situation is as complex as the case study above, ethical principles become the tool that guides our decision. This is exactly how ethics is useful to Petroleum Engineers. Another common ethical dilemma that engineers or anyone need to deal with is whistleblowing. Whistleblowing happens when accusing the organization or the manager of the organization of some wrongdoing. Some organization’s secret unethical acts could endanger the employees, society, animals or the environment. Almost in all of the whistleblowing cases, the employee loses his or her job at the current workplace. Whistleblowers’ ethical action comes with the cost of losing their job. Therefore, future Petroleum Engineers need to understand the ethics behind whistleblowing. …show more content…
Practical wisdom is the thought characteristics of a wise person to deliberate about things that are good for a good life. Virtue ethics philosophers, in answering who benefits the most from the virtues, argue that both the possessors and others benefit from the virtues. However, in the case of charity and justice, a sacrifice of interest on the part of the virtuous person is needed to benefit the others. Overall, people are often better off being charitable, but “circumstances may rise in which, he or she will have to sacrifice everything for charity or justice” (Woodson, 207). To some, this may sound absurd. Nevertheless, virtue ethics is about being virtuous. It does not account for the consequences of an action and it does not force a responsibility upon someone as duty. In the case of whistleblowing, virtue ethics would seem to agree that a whistleblower who loses his or her job is a virtuous …show more content…
According to Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), engineers need to “act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees by not disclosing without consent, or taking improper advantage of, anything of a proprietary or confidential nature concerning the business affairs or technical processes of any present or former client or employer” (Professional Conduct). This is one of the codes that prevent employees from going against their companies. Besides, loyalty towards the company also becomes an issue. Being loyal is about being virtuous. If someone was a whistleblower once, they lose the trust of others. According to Kant, we need to act as if our action is a universal law and breaking trust is not something everyone would do. However, there is also another code of conduct for the Petroleum Engineers that says, “when perceiving a consequence of their professional duties to adversely affect the present or future public health and safety, one shall formally advise their employers or clients, and if warranted, consider further disclosure to appropriate parties” (Professional Conduct). Hence, this code seems to justify whistleblowers’ action because it allows the employees to reach other appropriate parties if no one from the organization takes proper action. The federal also gives protection to whistleblowers through the Whistleblow Protection Act, a United States federal law

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