Whistle-Blowing and Employee Loyalty

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n Ronald Duska’s article, “Whistle-Blowing and Employee Loyalty”, Duska argues that whistle blowing should be allowed. Duska believes that companies, logically do not deserve our loyalty because companies are not a proper object of loyalty. Now because of his deduction about what a company essentially is, he believes whistle blowing is loyal and justified. I disagree with his deduction about what a company/group is; it should be an object of loyalty.

Although I believe that there are occasions in which whistle blowing portrays loyalty, I will argue that a company/group is an object of loyalty and whistle blowing is a depiction of loyalty in certain circumstances. Duska begins his article on whistle blowing and loyalty by questioning the general perception on how whistle blowing is an act of disloyalty to a company or corporation in which the whistle blowing is occurring from.

He explains, “companies are not the kind of things that are properly objects of loyalty” (Page 156), which leads him to his general discussion of the fault in believing that companies and corporations are loyal to its employees, thus employees should be in turn loyal to their employers and not whistle blow. Duska goes on to explain why he believes that companies are not objects of loyalty. He brings upon John Ladd along with the perceptions of atomists that loyalty cannot realistically occur between groups of people. These “atomists” Duska refers to comprises of philosophers who are empiricists and utilitarians, who believe that loyalty is an action that can only occur between individuals and not groups/companies.

Thus, the “object of loyalty” refers only to individuals or even individuals within a group, but not the group itself. This is the only exception to a group; loyalty can only occur between individuals of the group but not the entire group on its own. Duska, next refutes this ideal of utilitarianism and John Ladd’s belief by stating, “There is a difference between a person or a group of persons, and aside from instances of loyalty that relate two people such as lord/vassal, parent/child, or friend/friend, there are instances of loyalty relating a person to a group, such as a person to his family, a person to this team, and a person to his country. Families, countries, and teams are presumably groups of persons” (page 157).

What Duska means is that it is incorrect to assume that groups of people cannot be loyal to each other. In his explanation, he gives the example of family, in which a family is loyal to one another because, they love one another. Next, he explains how one could produce a logical rebuttal against his original statement about how companies and corporations are not an object of loyalty even though he clearly explains that a group can be an object of loyalty. He brings upon the point that loyalty can occur within a group such as a family or team.

So, if this is the case, a company is essentially a group just like how a family is a group but how is it still not considered an object of loyalty? Duska surely addresses this refutation by stating, “the kinds of relationships that loyalty requires are just the kind that one does not find in business” (page 157). He quotes Ladd, ‘The ties that bind the persons together provide the basis of loyalty’ (page 157), which helps develop his point that it is the relationship between individuals within a group that decide whether a group contains loyalty. In the case of corporations and businesses, although they are considered groups, they do not contain binding relationships. As a matter of fact, Duska explains that businesses only have the mindset of creating profit and capital, while disregarding the well-being of their employees who make up the company.

According to Duska, “A business or corporation does two things in the free enterprise system: It produces a good or service and it makes a profit” (page 158). He creates the general business ideal in which a company does not look for mutual fulfillment, rather to make a profit or to divide labor. A company does not feel the obligation of providing loyalty to its employees. Thus, when a company may need to make monetary cuts or outsource jobs to cheaper workers they will surely replace existing employees for these reasons. He goes on to explaining that companies are surely to look for ways to build capital and profit.

If they are not, such as non-profit companies, they will be unsuccessful businesses. Duska lastly refutes people who refer to businesses as teams. He believes that teams can surely apply loyalty but makes a clear distinction between businesses and teams. He explains that teams are generally formed as a collective effort to compete and win games. He states that with games, there will be victory on one side of the spectrum and loss on the other. The losers within a game will not suffer much consequences, but if a business loses, that is another story. “Competition leads not only to victory but to losers. One can lose at sport with precious few consequences. The consequences of losing at business are much larger” (page 159).

Losing as a business has consequences in a much larger magnitude than teams losing a game. The consequences of business can affect people that are involuntarily involved within the process. Therefore, business shouldn’t be associated with teams and should be distinctly separate due to their difference in magnitude of consequence. Furthermore, people should not be associating loyalty with businesses because businesses are not teams so whistle blowing is essentially ok within business. There are some aspects of Duska’s claim that are accurate but his claim about objects of loyalty and businesses not being one of them must be reevaluated. Firstly, Duska believes that businesses and corporations are not objects of loyalty.

This is because he believes that loyalty itself is mutually enriching. Both sides of the spectrum must exhibit loyalty, but if businesses (he believes) are not loyal to its employees, then how can employees be loyal to it. He furthermore elaborates that businesses would be more than happy to get rid of an employee if that meant increasing profits. Duska’s point is only valid to a certain extent. There are surely companies out there that exhibit these kinds of behavior in which their employees aren’t treated with respect and loyalty. Companies such as Walmart can be a prime example of this because employees of Walmart work grueling hours and are not being given essential benefits such a health insurance. There have even been some accusations of Walmart utilizing child labor.

Although this would make Duska’s point valid, this is not the case for all companies. There are companies out there that are profit motivated, but the same can be said in which there are measures that companies will take to ensure of their employee’s well-being. There are instances in which businesses have put their employees first before seeking out profit and is not a rare occasion. For instance, John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, has explained that in order for a business to even think about profit maximization, “the enlightened corporation should try to create value for all of its constituencies”.

Meaning that a corporation/company should value all of the facets that make up the company such as its employees, customers, shareholders, etc. It is important for businesses to keep in mind that their goal cannot be reached if others are not on the same page. As a matter of fact, companies usually seek to ensure that their employees and customers come first before anything else. Duska argues that businesses and corporations are all profit driven, which is a valid claim. A business would not be a business without the intent to create profit, unless the company is being driven by investors searching for non-profit gains. On the other hand, almost everything in life is driven by profit such as college students.

College students are in college to receive an education in the objective to acquire jobs and make money in the future. This does not make them ‘disloyal’ because they want to make money and potentially support a family in the future. It is important to see that companies function in the hopes to generate profit, but disloyalty cannot be assumed just because of one’s motive. Lastly, with Duska’s assumption of all businesses being not ‘mutually enriching’ therefore disloyal to its employees, the assumption is simply untrue. With his assumption being untrue, whistle blowing can be loyal in certain occasions, not all the time.

Businesses cannot function without the motive of profit, but the motive of profit being their only motive cannot be simply assumed for all functioning businesses. As shown, John Mackey believes that all of the company’s constituents must be cared for in order for a company’s success to occur. Without the care for its employees or customers, a business will be both unethical and will not be maximizing its profits. Furthermore, employees should be loyal to their companies, as loyalty is mutually enriching and both parties must be loyal. Loyalty may also mean being a whistle-blower if it means benefitting the company’s well-being. In cases such as Lockheed Martin’s ‘whistle blower’ for their Deepwater program and Edward Snowden ‘whistle blower’ for the CIA, these scenarios have justified their whistle blowing.

In the case of the Lockheed Martin whistle blower, his scenario was justified and still loyal to the company because he was looking out for the safety of the coast guards rather than the selfishness that caused the overlook of unsafe conditions of the boats that were being designed. Looking out for the safety of the end-user in an engineering design is truly ethical because the designs of an engineer should always be practical and safe. So, in this case the whistle blower was correct and loyal to the company by attempting to ensure and not overlook the safety features of the boats being designed. Now, in the scenario of Edward Snowden, his motive was to look out for the people of the United States.

Much like the Lockheed whistle blower, Snowden was looking out for the end-users of the United States government who are the citizens of the US. Ultimately, employees should utilize loyalty towards the companies they work for, because companies are generally loyal to their employees. Since loyalty is mutually enriching and mutually inclusive between both parties, loyalty should be shown by employees. Since loyalty must occur between companies and their employees, whenever whistle blowing has an ethical outcome for the company, whistle blowing is a demonstration of loyalty.


Cite this paper

Whistle-Blowing and Employee Loyalty. (2021, Mar 10). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/whistle-blowing-and-employee-loyalty/

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