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Whistleblowing and Information Ethics: Facilitation, Entropy, and Ecopoiesis

Abstract

This paper analyses whistleblowing from the perspective of Floridi’s information ethics (IE). Although there is a vast body of literature on whistleblowing using micro-ethical (egopoietic) or meso-ethical (sociopoietic) frameworks, whistleblowing has previously not been researched using a macro-ethical or ecopoietic framework. This paper is the first to explicitly do so. Empirical research suggests whistleblowing is a process rather than a single decision and action. I argue this process evolves depending on how whistleblowing is facilitated (positively or negatively) throughout that process, i.e. responding to whistleblowers and providing information about whistleblowing activity. The paper develops a typology of whistleblowing facilitation to complement Floridi’s IE. The findings suggest that for whistleblowing to be beneficial to the informational environment, facilitation must filter out untrue whistleblowing, and achieve closure with the whistleblower, especially when whistleblowing is mistaken or deliberately false. I also find that publishing information about whistleblowing activity can be beneficial for the informational environment, but only if all organizations or all regulators do so.

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Funding

This research was funded by the University of Greenwich, Business School, Work and Employment Relations Unit (WERU).

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Correspondence to Wim Vandekerckhove.

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Research Involving Human and Animal Participants

This research did not involve human participants and/or animals.

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Vandekerckhove, W. Whistleblowing and Information Ethics: Facilitation, Entropy, and Ecopoiesis. J Bus Ethics 152, 15–25 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3294-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3294-4

Keywords

  • Ecopoiesis
  • Floridi
  • Information ethics
  • Whistleblowing