Whistleblowing And Corporate Ethics: Hughes Aircraft

1057 words - 4 pages

Introduction
Whistleblowers were never treated with hospitality. In general, 90% of whistleblowers lost their jobs or were demoted, regardless of the industry; 27% faced lawsuits; 26% had psychiatric or medical referrals; 17% lost their homes, and 8% went bankrupt (Waters 2008). As highly righteous as whistleblowers are, they also suffer severe consequences. In Hughes Aircraft case, the company's employees who decided to blow the whistle, Goodearl and Aldred were extremely affected and treated unfairly, so much so that " [Goodearl] and her husband had to file for bankruptcy, and Aldred was on welfare for a year before she could find another job."(The Hughes Whistleblowing Case , n.d.). Hence, the main focus of this paper is to determine whether or not whistle blowing is really worth the trouble, even though it is almost always ethically correct.
What are Goodearl’s obligations/responsibilities?
Goodearl has several responsibilities. First, Goodearl has responsibility to herself and her family, for one cannot survive with proper sources of income to exchange for goods and services. In this situation, she would act out of her self-interest. Second, she has responsibility to Hughes Microelectronics because she is an employee of the company and is responsible for the testing floor operation. Because of her responsibility to which the company delegates, Goodearl is obligated to act based on principles that will maximize the overall result of the company. Third, Goodearl is obligated to serve her country, to act for the benefit of the United States. In Hughes Aircraft case however, Goodearl's obligation to the United States is in conflict with the company's interest, which ultimately affect her self-interest as well.
What are Hughes Aircraft’s obligations/responsibilities?
Generally, companies have four responsibilities to the society: Economic Responsibilities, Legal Responsibilities, Ethical Responsibilities, and Philanthropic Responsibilities (Carroll, 1991). First, companies are responsible for providing goods/services to their client and make profits; fail to make profits is an irresponsible behavior that would eventually hurt companies' stakeholders. In this case, we would not know if Hughes Aircraft were profitable, but it was certainly profitable enough to continue its operations. Second, companies are accountable for meeting all the legal requirements. Presumably, Hughes' met all the legal requirement in order to function as a company. Third, companies are expected to perform in a manner that consistent with societal moral standard; without it, corporations are doomed to perish in the long run. Clearly, Hughes Aircraft is unethical because it intentionally skips tests that are crucial to the quality of their products, which may cost US military millions, not to mention the possible breach of homeland security. Moreover, the company is immoral to laying off Goodearl, for her being a good "corporate citizen". At last, companies should...

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