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Ethics and Whistleblowing: Moral Quandaries Case Study

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Updated: Apr 25th, 2021

Concealment and Disclosure

The situation surrounding Gail’s parents is complicated due to the nature of whistleblowing. Revealing the information about AMC’s incoming financial crash to her parents appears to be an advisable option, but singling out her parents and leaving every other investor, who is unaware of the situation, may be unethical. However, broadcasting the data to everyone would result in large numbers of shareholders leaving the company, increasing the severity of its impending difficulties.

Knowingly and willingly making a company suffer severe complications, possibly go bankrupt, is the aspect of whistleblowing that leads the practice to be actively discouraged sometimes, as described by Dyrud (2017). This negative connotation applies especially strongly in this case, as AMC did not misrepresent the data intentionally with the goal of committing fraud, and a possibly fatal crash can be considered excessive punishment for the mistake, as the company is about to undergo significant difficulties without Gail’s intervention.

Nevertheless, the finances of Gail’s parents are in significant peril, and she can help them. Ultimately, however, a leader has to do the right thing (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2015), and there does not appear to be a clear moral or ethical guideline in this case. Gail’s parents have chosen to invest in a venture that did not guarantee success and are going to reap the consequences. They were not cheated or willfully deceived and made the decision without consulting their daughter, who would be knowledgeable about such matters and could suggest a good and stable company for them to choose. Overall, the case for disclosure of sensitive information is not strong enough to spread the knowledge to Gail’s parents.

The Proposed Solution

Gail’s interest in protecting the well-being of her parents is an understandable motivation and should be satisfied as much as possible within the scope of the situation. However, the discussion above implies that she should not discuss the matter with them, as their interest is not that of the public and therefore does not justify a case of external whistleblowing, mainly due to the devastating effect it could have on the company. Although Gail could attempt to convince her parents not to reveal the knowledge to anyone else after telling them, she would only be passing the dilemma on to her parents, who likely learned about AMC from their friends or a similar source. Furthermore, their sudden decision to pull out of the company soon after acquiring its shares would appear suspicious, and information leaks would be unavoidable.

The key to the solution lies in the nature of the issues surrounding AMC. The corporation has allowed a significant mistake, and it is about to suffer from substantial financial consequences because of that error, but the nature of the deception was not intentional.

Gail is in the best position to judge the goals of the misrepresentation as an auditor, so her opinion can be trusted. Furthermore, the company has performed well on the stock market in recent years, and all of its practices other than the liabilities reports have been fair and lawful. It is likely that the company will be able to recover from its decline in the future and achieve further growth. Therefore, Gail should tell her parents about the situation, but also attempt to convince them not to sell their stock and put their trust in the company’s ability to generate a profit for them in the future.

Viewpoint Evaluation

From the anthropocentric point of view, there are no significant reasons to keep the incinerator in operation. It helps people live just as much as it harms the lives of others, and the economic benefits of not having to dispose of the waste through other means barely tilt the benefits and costs balance towards the former. However, the fact that the incinerator’s owner is the area’s second largest employer is significant here.

The biocentric point of view does not offer any justifications to the incinerator’s existence. Calcutta Industries has tried to reduce the amounts of heavy metal emissions, but their presence is contrary to the nature of the biocentric approach regardless of the severity of the harm. The incinerator is harmful to the environment, and the economic benefits do not help offset the damage. Furthermore, the existence of the plant leads to health issues and regular deaths, making it completely undesirable.

The incinerator remains a harmful entity when viewed from a theocentric point of view. The concept of empathy as described by Hill (2008) suggests that the health concerns of the population should be addressed. Furthermore, the existence of the incinerator goes against the role of humanity as the planet’s stewards. While the people who work at the plant would lose their jobs should it close, the alternative waste disposal methods that would have to be implemented could provide them with new jobs, removing that concern.

Approach Recommendations

The anthropocentric approach would yield an ambivalent answer to the question of closing down the incinerator. It provides financial benefits, however small, and employs a significant number of people. Furthermore, it was initially constructed at a considerable distance from the dwelling area, and the people, who now suffer from pollution toxins, chose to settle nearby at own will. Maintaining the status quo appears to be the optimal solution, which means that the incinerator would stay in operation until another significant factor was introduced to upset the balance.

Both the biocentric and the theocentric approaches, however, would advocate for the shutdown of the facility. It is environmentally harmful, leads to worse health outcomes, constant mortality rate, and does not provide unique benefits in return. Furthermore, any damage to the livelihoods of the people working at the plant could be offset by offering them jobs in the alternative waste disposal program that would have to be implemented to replace the incinerator. Ultimately, the act of closing the plant would be significantly beneficial from both viewpoints.

The Proposed Solution

I believe that closing down the incinerator would be the correct option in the situation. It benefits the community through improved health outcomes, increased property value, tourism, quality of life, and reduced pollution. Furthermore, it may profit Calcutta Industries by allowing them to practice corporate social responsibility as described by Tai and Chuang (2014). Companies are composed of people who should understand and fulfill their role as protectors of nature even as they attempt to complete their assigned duties in an efficient and result-oriented manner.

The situation becomes more complicated if the plant is Calcutta Industries’s only property. In that case, the shutdown of the plant would likely mean that the company would cease to exist as a result, leading to significant adverse outcomes. A possible solution for this situation would be a relocation of the facility. However, the expenses involved would require the involvement of the community or the government authorities. Although the enterprise would be expensive, it would partially satisfy the anthropocentric and biocentric viewpoints while being consistent with the theocentric approach.


Dyrud, M. A. (2017). Ethics and whistleblowing: Moral quandaries. Web.

Hill, A. (2008). Just business: Christian ethics for the marketplace (Rev. Ed.). Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R. C., & Curphy, G. J. (2015). Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience. (8th ed.). Boston: Irwin/McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Tai, F. M., & Chuang, S. H. (2014). Corporate social responsibility. iBusiness, 6, 117-130.

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