Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 321–328

Ethical tension points in whistleblowing

  • J. Vernon Jensen

DOI: 10.1007/BF00382941

Cite this article as:
Jensen, J.V. J Bus Ethics (1987) 6: 321. doi:10.1007/BF00382941


This paper analyzes the number of procedural and substantive tension points with which a conscientious whistleblower struggles. Included in the former are such questions as: (1) Am I properly depicting the seriousness of the problem? (2) Have I secured the information properly, analyzed it appropriately, and presented it fairly? (3) Are my motives appropriate? (4) Have I tried fully enough to have the problem corrected within the organization? (5) Should I blow the whistle while still a member of the organization or after having left it? (6) Should I keep anonymity? (7) How ethical is it to assume the role of a judge? (8) How ethical is it to set in motion an act which will likely be very costly to many people? Substantive tension points include such questions as: (1) How fully am I living up to my moral obligations to my organization and my colleagues? (2) Am I appropriately upholding the ethical standards of my profession? (3) How adversely will my action affect my family and other primary groups? (4) Am I being true to myself? (5) How will my action affect the health of such basic values as freedom of expression, independent judgment, courage, fairness, cooperativeness, and loyalty?

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Vernon Jensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Speech Communication, 317 Folwell HallUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisU.S.A.

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