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Ethics: Whistle Blowing in the Government

Whistle Blowing in the Government

The world today faces diverse ethical issues. ‘Whistle-blowing’ is a subject that continues to draw different opinions all over the world. According to Farlex (2014), ‘whistle-blowing’ refers to a situation where a person in the state administration reveals to the public ongoing issues of corruption, mismanagement or illegality in the government. While it promotes healthy democracy, there are a number of people who are uncomfortable with such occurrences. Consequently, they resist it. The following paper applies various ethical theories in elaborating the diverse perspective of ‘whistle-blowing’.

Analysis of the issue in regard to Utilitarianism, Relativism, and Deontology

Utilitarianism is a model that defines the extent to which the action is right. In essence, it demarcates that an action is right if it promotes the happiness of the greatest number of people (Copp, 2007). In other words, any decision that one makes, he must focus on bring fulfillment to the public. In fact, their consequence is what defines the act. The moral duty of man is therefore to maximize the pleasure and minimize pain. In regard to ‘whistle-blowing’, the action brings satisfaction to the entire public. For example, when there is corruption in the government, there is a tendency for the people around to desire to hide the issue. They argue that they seek to protect the people. However, they fail to consider the community. ‘Whistle-blowers’ help the entire public from losing to corruption. Needless to say, such people are answerable to the court of the law. In essence, the theory views fraud as a violation of human rights.

Deontology, however, is a model that judges the principles of an action according to adherence to the regulations (Copp, 2007). In other words, when the society or government has some defined, rules, they act as guiding principle that people follow. Consequently, when one disobeys the law, his action is considered to be dishonest. In other words, somebody who fails to accomplish his task is immoral (Cline, 2014). In reference to the issue of whistle-blowing the government, the theory considers the action as dissolute. A government employee has the responsibility of dispensing his duties with utmost transparency. In fact, before they get into the institution they sign contracts that highlight the rules and regulations of adherence. Consequently, mismanagement is a violation of the law. The theory is distinct from Utilitarianism. In essence, while utilitarianism supports an action as long as the greatest number of people benefit, Deontology considers the rules to judge an action.

The theory of relativism is, however, distinct from the two. It highlights that an action is right on the basis of an individual and his environment and culture (Lafollete, 2001). The model emphasizes that there is no right or wrong action. It gives a lot of weight to culture and historical period. For instance, when a government employee misappropriates funds, his action is wrong or right depending on his personality and the environment. If he comes from a culture that supports corruption then ‘whistle-blowing’ is of no significance. However, it is fundamental to a community that condemns corruption. It is evident that the theory breaches ethical values of honesty and integrity. It justifies greed and corruption depending on the society.


It is apparent that every ethical theory brings a different perspective to the judgment of ‘whistle-blowing’ in the government. While utilitarianism and deontology support it, relativism gives room for both sides. In other words, it condemns and justifies depending on the environment. However, it does not uphold the values of honesty and transparency. It is, therefore, imperative that the society critically analyzes the theories before their application.

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