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  • 1. WHISTLEBLOWING "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." -Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • 2. Overview
    • What is Whistleblowing?
    • Reactions
    • Laws Protecting whistle Blowing
    • How to blow the whistle?
    • Risks
    • Statistics
    • Ethical Dilemma
    • Case Study: Challenger Disaster
    • 2002: The Year of the Whistleblower
  • 3. What is Whistleblowing?
    • Whistleblowing is…
      • 'raising concerns about misconduct within an organization or within an independent structure associated with it'
      • (Nolan Committee on Standards in Public Life)
      • 'bringing an activity to a sharp conclusion as if by the blast of a whistle'
      • (Oxford English Dictionary)
      • 'giving information (usually to the authorities) about illegal and underhand practices‘
      • (Chambers Dictionary)
    • Internal whistleblowing: who report misconduct to a fellow employee or superior within their company.
    • External whistleblowing: report misconduct to outside persons or entities.
    • Selfless Martyrs v/s Snitches
    • IMPACT:
    • Termination
    • Demotions
    • Mistreatment
    • No Future Promotions
    • Federal Whistleblower Protect Act 1989
    • Federal False Claims Act
    • State Laws
    • Whistleblower Protection Act of 2007
    • The week of May 13-19 2007, whistleblowers from all over the country gathered in Washington, D.C., to convince the United States Congress to pass stronger whistleblower protections for both government and private sector workers.
    • During WWW dozens of nonprofit organizations, whistleblower groups and individual whistleblowers participated in a broad range of activities that included discussion panels, testimony, award ceremonies, a film night and book signing, and workshops in advocacy, stress management, whistleblower law, and mentoring.
  • 8. What to think about
    • The “mom” test:
        • “I’m going to be in this industry a long time. Will this damage my reputation with my boss, colleagues, future customers or employers?”
    • The personal responsibility test:
        • Weigh personal obligations to family and etc. that can only be met if you have an income.
        • “Will harm avoided by greater than harm incurred?”
  • 9. How to Blow the Whistle
    • Do it anonymously
        • let the evidence speak for itself and protect yourself if possible
    • Do it in a group
        • charges have more weight and won’t seem like a personal vendetta.
    • Present just the evidence
        • leave interpretation of facts to others.
    • Work through internal channels
        • start with your immediate supervisor or follow the standard reporting procedure
    • Work through external channels
        • go public (biggest risk)
  • 10. Risks of Whistleblowing
    • WB rarely works out well for the whistleblower
        • Viewed as a “rat” who ratted out the company
        • Resented by coworkers
        • Serious contemplation of job change or personal problematic activity (drinking, drugs, self-destructive behavior)
        • Depends on the organization for a job, the job makes money, the family needs money to survive
  • 11. Statistics
    • Polling Group:
        • 233 individuals polled, 40% responded
        • Average age: 47
        • Employed for 6.5 years at job
        • Almost all lost job
  • 12. Statistics
    • Negative Effects:
        • 51% of Govt employees lost their job
        • 82% harassed by superiors
        • 69% watched closely after blowing the whistle
        • 63% lost job responsibilities
        • 60% fired
        • 10% attempted suicide
    • Positive Effects:
        • 20% felt their actions resulted in positive changes
        • More than 50% (of responders) would do it again
  • 13. Ethical Dilemma
    • The Mum Effect --reluctance to blow the whistle
    • The Deaf Effect --reluctance to hear the whistle
        • “ I wrote lots of reports. I escalated things as much as I could, but in the end, they said, ‘We really appreciate your efforts, but thanks, but no thanks’”
    • The Blind Effect --reluctance to see the need to blow the whistle
        • Established audit functions do not operate effectively because they try to conceal the information from management
  • 14. 2002: Year of the Whistleblower Cynthia Cooper WorldCom Coleen Rowley FBI Sherron Watkins Enron
  • 15. Sherron Watkins
    • Former Vice President of Enron Corporation
    • Alerted then-CEO Ken Lay in August 2001 to accounting irregularities within the company
    • Warned that Enron 'might implode in a wave of accounting scandals.'
    • Testified before Congressional Committees from the House and Senate investigating Enron's demise.
    • Lauded in the press for her courageous actions, but left her job at Enron after a few months when she wasn't given much to do
  • 16. Cynthia Cooper
    • WorldCom’s Director of Internal Audit
    • Her team discovered $3 billion in questionable expenses
    • Met with 4 executives to track down and explain the undocumented expenses
    • Disclosed findings, WorldCom stock frozen, corporate credit rating went from B+ to CCC-
    • Remained as VP of Internal Audit, not promoted, no gratitude, resented by employees
  • 17. Case Study: Challenger
    • January 28, 1986
    • Space Shuttle Challenger
    • exploded 72 seconds into
    • its flight, killing all 7 crew
    • members. The flight received much media
    • attention because a teacher, Christa
    • McAuliffe, was on board.
  • 18. Challenger: What Went Wrong
    • Explosion caused by O-ring failure between segments of the booster rockets.
    • Several employees of the manufacturer, Thiokol, had been aware of the O-ring deficiencies.
    • No one listened to the engineers who knew about the problem
  • 19. Challenger: Major Players
    • Roger Boisjoly, seal specialist at Thiokol
      • Directed task force for a year to study the evidence that hot gases eroded O-rings
    • Allan McDonald, manager of solid-rocket motor program
    • Larry Mulloy, NASA official, manager of booster programs
    • George Hardy, NASA official
  • 20. Challenger: Timeline
    • July 31, 1985
      • Boisioly wrote a memo saying, “it is my honest and very real fear that if we do not take immediate action to solve the problem [the company could] stand in jeopardy of losing a flight.”
      • No conclusive evidence to back up memo
  • 21. Challenger: Timeline
    • January 27, 1986, the day before lift-off
      • McDonald was worried about temperatures dropping to 22 degrees overnight.
      • 14 engineers “fought like hell” to get permission to present to NASA
      • All 14 Thiokol engineers recommended postponing the launch
      • Mulloy and Hardy challenged the recommendation
        • Mulloy: “When do you want me to launch, next April?”
        • Hardy: recommendation “appalled” him
        • Thiokol: Management reversed the recommendation for postponement
        • What kind of dilemma was Thiokol forced into?
  • 22. Challenger: The Explosion
    • O-rings partially failed on ignition (picture)
    • Melted metal sealed the gap
    • Hit a wind shear, causing the booster to flex and the seal to dislodge
    • Loss of cabin pressure
    • Flames led to explosion
  • 23. Challenger: Timeline
    • After the explosion
      • McDonald
        • Went public
        • Demoted by management
        • Public outcry and Congressional investigation led to a reversal of that decision and a promotion instead
        • Became spokesman for Thiokol and new rocket boosters
      • Boisjoly
        • “ I hope and pray that I have not risked my job and family security by being honest in my conviction”
        • Never worked on a shuttle again because it was too painful
        • Wondered if there was more he could have done, even though the record shows he minced no words
        • Reassigned by management with altered responsibilities
        • Took leave of absence, a year later went on disability
  • 24. Challenger: Questions
    • What effects did Boisjoly and McDonald face when they blew the whistle?
    • Why did NASA not listen to the engineers?
    • Why did Thiokol to reverse its decision even though they knew it was incorrect?
    • Would you have blown the whistle differently than Boisjoly and McDonald? If so, how?
    • Did McDonald go public at the right time?
  • 25. THANK YOU