Business and Management : Leadership

What is whistleblowing?

This assignment is worth 200 points of your final course grade. This assignment asks you to research a whistleblower who exposed unethical behavior in an organization and the outcome of that exposure or investigation. The research is to be done over the entire semester. The research paper should be a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 7 pages, not including, references and cover page. The paper must be written using APA 6th edition style format, double spaced and utilizing the Times New Roman font type and 12-point font size. The submitted paper will be checked for plagiarism and the appropriate sanctions applied (see pages 15-16 on the syllabus). Submitted papers must not be a compilation of quotes and those submitted in this format will be given a zero, even if the quotes are cited in the paper (see pages 15-16 of the syllabus). The following are important guiding questions that must be answered in your paper.

1. Definitions of whistleblowing–legal and otherwise. For example, when actors report being sexually harassed by a film producer, is that a variety of whistleblowing? What is whistleblowing?
2. Online research of whistleblowing in the U.S. government–what offices exist, what cases have been tried, and what protections are offered for whistleblowers? For example, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has an Office of the Whistleblower. The U.S. Department of Labor offers a Whistleblower Protection Program. The Department of Energy lists the whistleblowing cases it has been involved in.
3. Online and library research of whistleblowing in the professions you as a student want to go into, such as the film industry, finance. Accounting, computer and informational technology, business management, marketing, the military, human resources, and so on.
4. Selection of a whistleblower to study (e.g., Sherron Watkins, Enron; Edward Snowden, NSA; Jeffrey Wigand, the tobacco industry, etc.). Consider looking for local whistleblowers who may have been profiled in regional newspapers. Locating individuals from our local communities who are whistleblowers, will hopefully make this project more “real.” There needs to be enough information publicly available to develop a substantive profile of the person’s organizational role and motivations for exposing unethical behavior. Hence, before selecting the whistleblower to study, make sure you are able to find adequate information that would meet your paper requirements.
5. Analysis of the follower’s ethical decision-making process. What considerations were weighed? What pressures (internal and external) did the whistleblower experience before and after deciding to expose a company’s unethical behavior.
6. What was the effect of the whistleblowing on the accused individual(s) and company? Acceptance of responsibility? Denial?
7. Summary of the outcome. Was there a trial? A verdict? An appeal? A settlement out of court? Was the follower changed in some way because of this experience?
8. What takeaway lessons about followership are there from this event?