Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 167–177

Anonymity and whistleblowing


  • Frederick A. Elliston
    • Criminal Justice Research Center

DOI: 10.1007/BF00382768

Cite this article as:
Elliston, F.A. J Bus Ethics (1982) 1: 167. doi:10.1007/BF00382768


This paper examines the moral arguments for and against employees' blowing the whistle on illegal or immoral actions of their employers. It asks whether such professional dissidents are justified in disclosing wrongdoing by others while concealing their own identity. Part I examines the concept of anonymity, distinguishing it from two similar concepts — secrecy and privacy. Part II analyzes the concept of whistleblowing using recent definitions by Bok, Bowie and De George. Various arguments against anonymous whistleblowing are identified and evaluated. The author concludes with a defense of the practice in terms of social benefits — primarily the redressing of wrongdoing.

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1982