Whistle-blowing involves informing the public or a person in authority concerning illegal and dishonest activities taking place in a government workplace, companies, or in private or public organizations (Bouville, 2007).
. Potential forms of whistle-blowing at the federal workplace include gross mismanagement, fraud, abuse of authority, and violations of law and regulation. Whistle-blowing leads to serious implications; therefore, the whistle-blower must have a reasonable belief and be certain that the disclosure is accurate. In case an employee observes an unlawful practice and chooses to remain silence, he or she is considered a potential accessory to the unlawful practice through letting it to go on without reporting anything (Carson, Verdu, & Wokutch, 2007). There is a general consensus that whistle-blowing is ethical if the provided evident is relevant and significant. Most employees in public administration observe a number of unlawful practices committed by their bosses and intent to do what is ethically right through reporting their employers. However, there is an increasing concern about their safety after reporting such incidences (Grant, 2002). The decision to blow the whistle and report unethical practices is not hard; however, there are significant challenges because whistle-blowers face the risk of retaliation by their seniors. There are rampant cases reported whistle-blowers have been suspended or terminated. Retaliation against employees who disclose unlawful acts is illegal according to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Grant, 2002). Irrespective of these laws that discourage retaliation, whistle-blows have reason to fear the effects of disclosure and even face punishment for doing what is morally right by reporting the unlawful practices of their supervisors.
These dangers pose the question of whether it is worth for employees at a federal workplace come forward when they witness an illegal act, or should they maintain silence to evade the probable costs and time, and potential retaliation that could damage their careers. Therefore, there should be adequate protection from employees who come forward when they witness an unlawful practice at the workplace. There are different viewpoints concerning the benefits of whistle-blowing, with some authors conceding that whistle-blowing is not effective in fostering change. For instance, Near and Michael (1996) argues that whistle-blowing does not benefit anyone and harms many, even the whistle-blower is a potential victim of retaliation. Near & Michael (1996) maintains that whistle-blowing should be the last resort only after it has been established that that the desired results will be achieved. For all the controversy surrounding whistle-blowing, it is evident whistle-blowing is beneficial to organizations and societies, but these benefits are not appreciated because of the controversies involving incidents of whistle-blowing. Numerous studies have affirmed the benefits of whistle-blowing at the workplace. A study involving federal employees in the US revealed that whistle-blowing was an effective tool for initiating procedural, policy and personnel changes. The study also pointed out that whistle-blowing resulted in congressional ad internal investigations that facilitated the conviction and criminal indictment of the perpetrators of the unlawful acts (Carson, Verdu, & Wokutch, 2007). Other studies have reported the benefits of whistle-blowing, which include changes in the policy agenda of the government, significant changes in public policies, and changes with regard to the organizational and bureaucratic procedures. These observations serve to validate the advantages of whistle-blowing as an effective tool to implement changes in public organizations and society. As a result, there is the need to ensure adequate protection of whistle-blowers and encourage the practice among federal employees (Rothschild & Miethe, 1999). This topic is important because whistle-blowing can be used as a tool for enhancing the effectiveness of public governance. The following literature reviews show the findings that will be used for deriving conclusions.
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