Can Whistleblowing Be a Solution to Unethical Behaviors in the Tourism Industry?

Can Whistleblowing Be a Solution to Unethical Behaviors in the Tourism Industry?

Gulsevim Yumuk Gunay, Basak Ozyurt
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1474-0.ch013
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Researchers have discussed the concept of whistleblowing in a variety of fields including psychology, sociology, ethics, law, and public policy. Whistleblowing is expressed as the disclosure of illegal, unethical or illegitimate practices under the control of employers by members of the organization to persons or organizations that may affect the action. Whistleblowing is so important especially in the tourism industry that many tourist establishments cannot disregard it. Unethical behaviors may arise from the organization itself as well as the personality characteristics of the employees in the tourism industry as in different sectors. The behaviors of superiors and individuals within the organization, ethical practices in the tourism industry, moral climate of society, and organizational policies constitute sources of unethical behaviors in the tourism businesses. For this reason, it is very important to encourage and legally protect whistleblowers who will inform the authorities of ethical and illegal behavior.
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Nowadays, organizations can continue their existence depending on the labor force and customer loyalty they have. It has become increasingly importance for both employees and customers (guests) how organizations stand against laws and ethical principles. Since each employee wants to be in an environment with ethical climate, each customer (guest) also has desire to purchase product or service from any organization which demonstrates ethical behaviors. Organizations try to establish justice, order and peace between employees through ethical principles. Each employee also should separate the right from the wrong and the good from the bad, and demonstrate legal and ethical behaviors in their lives (Ozdemir, 2015: 9; Berkman and Aslan, 2009: 32).

Employees are mostly expected to report wrongdoing and misconduct they notice in the organization within the scope of ethical behaviors to the authorities within or outside the organization. Whistleblowing, one of the new subjects of the organizational behavior, is used to define the act of the employee to announce illegal, unethical, suspicious or not correct behaviors within an organization to the authorities or public, i.e. the act of non-compulsory disclosure (Jubb, 1999:83). The formal/informal structure of the organization, leaders' styles, employees and managers' moral values and the loyalty levels the employees feel to the organization have an effect on whether the act of whistleblowing is performed or not (Yarmaci, 2018:83). In 1993, an employee named “Jeffrey Wigand” working in a company which produced cigarettes disclosed that the nicotine in the cigarette increased addiction and led to cancer, which is shown as one of the first examples of whistleblowing (Ozdemir, 2015; 17). As the number of these examples is gradually increasing in different sectors, the concept of whistleblowing has been provided to take place in management literature as a subject needed to be investigated.

Also, in the tourism industry which is a labor-intensive sector, illegal and unethical behaviors between either managers and their subordinates or employees and guests in the organizations may lead to damage to the organization in the long term. Therefore, it is important that tourism employees perform wrong behavior in question and struggle with unethical behaviors. In the literature review, it is seen that whistleblowing studies performed in the tourism industry are insufficient. This study was therefore intended to inform and encourage staff on whistleblowing action and to contribute to academic studies in this industry.The study examines the concept of whistleblowing in the tourism industry. The content of this chapter includes whistleblowing and whistleblower; theories of whistleblowing; types of whistleblowing; reasons of whistleblowing; whistleblowing process; outcomes of whistleblowing; legislative regulations on whistleblowing; and unethical behaviors in the tourism industry.

Key Terms in this Chapter

WPA (Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act): The law established in the United States in 1989, expanded in 1994 and approved in 2007 to protect whistleblowers.

Internal Whistleblowing: Informing their superiors of the organisation workers ' illegitimate and unethical activities that have the authority to correct them within the organisation.

PIDA (Public Interest Disclosure Act): The law that was implemented in England in 1998 to safeguard whistleblowers.

Unobtrusive Control: The theory of unobtrusive control deals with the process of organizational identification and citizenship in the concept of whistleblowing.

Organizational Wrongdoing: Wrongful behavior within formal organizations that results in infringement of the law.

External Whistleblowing: Informing the organisations staff to outside individuals and organizations who have the authority to correct the organization's illegitimate and unethical activities.

NWC (The National Whistleblower Center): A non-profit, legal whistleblower defense organization that protects individuals ' right to report unlawful and unethical behavior without fear of retaliation.

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