Francis J. Murphy, Jr. George Fox University, Newberg Oregon, U.S.A.
Marlon Ware, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California, U.S.A.

Published in

Volume 19, Issue 4, p5-14, December 2019


A definition of ethics in the business context can be difficult (Sparks, Pan, 2010) but one is needed to give a common ground for exploring whistleblowing. In this article, Sparks and Pan define different ethical judgements and what they are based upon. An example of when definitive outcomes are less easily obtained is when moral judgements are needed. Howard Rest defines the ethical judgement as a "psychological construct that characterizes a process by which an individual determines that one course of action in a particular situation is morally right and another course of action is morally wrong". With this context, we can look at some of the whistleblowing legislation, its importance, and where further research and legislation may be worthwhile to pursue. When a situation is defined by law, or regulation, that is succinct and easily understood, the validity of decisions for correctness are easily investigated. When judgement is involving an abuse of authority, or danger to public health, is when this definition and a common framework of understanding is necessary. Additional considerations for future ethics definitions should encompass subjects that are wide ranging including corporate social responsibility, morality, culture, and other potentially gray or controversial areas.


Whistleblower, Professional codes, Civil Service Reform Act, Fraud

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