Whistleblowing and Sarbanes-Oxley

Key characteristics of a whistleblower
The verb whistle-blowing refers to revealing the hidden actions of another individual or groups of people (mostly executives) of a company for wrong actions they perpetrate in the dark. A whistleblower is thus any person who exposes any information regarding illegal activity dishonesty, or correct activities within an organization. In many cases, whistleblowers are employees or ex-employee of a company (Green, 2004).. Among the essential characteristics of whistleblowers is that they are altruistically motivated. They do their actions to expose the truth so that a person suffering unfairly may get saved. Secondly, they are utilitarian. They serve to be useful rather than attractive. Thirdly, they are not interested in altering their behavior. They do what they do because they believe it’s the appropriate course. They, therefore, allow their attitudes and beliefs to drive them. In many cases, whistleblowers are well educated as only people with such wisdom can manage what they do. They are also aware that what they do is prone to danger and severe retaliation (Green, 2004).

Instance of whistleblowing
On the 11th of March 2016, two former students of Bard College revealed that the college officials were violating the False Claims Act that regards the federal grants and that which stipulates the use of Title IV student aid funds. These two whistleblowers had researched and found that Bard has for long received funds through the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Program though they the college has not yet complied with the conditions of such grant. Bard was also allegedly reported to be awarding, disbursing and receiving Title IV student loan funds at campus locations though such were not yet recognized. They also did so without providing notice of the locations to the Department of Education. Such actions showed an infringement of applicable regulations and agreement with the Department of Education. The case is still not solved and until the Court decides the fate of the culprits, the effect of the whistle-blowing to the whistleblower and the institution’s heads may not be determined. However, the prospective effects might be the jailing or fining of the Bard College heads. More so, the court might decide to demote them. The whistleblower might face threats from those persons that they exposed (Newman 2016).

Justification of the whistleblowers’ reporting

In any case, the actions of the whistleblowers were justified. Any publically traded company or any government institution represents is there to serve the people rather than inflict pain or take the public’s money without their consent. The government takes a lot of taxes from the public which it uses to pay for the services of workers of public institutions. It is thus wrong for these few individuals to grab or siphon the money once more from the public funds. As a matter of facts, it’s only the whistleblowers who might find out such actions as perpetrators do it hidden. Their actions were thus justified as they saved the public from continued fraudulence (Green, 2004).

Extent to which the whistleblower would be protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was developed and passed by the U.S. Congress to guard shareholders as well as the general public from such things like accounting errors and fraudulent practices. It was also aimed at improving the accuracy of commercial disclosures (Green, 2004). Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act would protect the whistleblowers against harm by the Bard’s heads for providing information about financial fraud. However, the two had to show that an actual violation occurred. It would then protect them against retaliatory actions such as threats or discrimination.

Ethics and Corporate Responsibility in the Workplace and the World

1: Describe the key characteristics of a stakeholder and determine all the stakeholders within the PharmaCARE scenario.

Stakeholders of a typical organization might include employees, customers, investors, suppliers, and managers (Phillips, 2003). There are several characteristics of a stakeholder of a company, among which include the following. First is that a stakeholder characteristic of a stakeholder is that he/she in one way or the other funds the organization through investing in it. He/she is thus affected by the outcomes or results of the company’s progress or the success or failures of the organization’s projects. Another key characteristic of a stakeholder is that he/she is in the company’s chain of accountability. Decisions made by the company’s officials may affect them directly or indirectly (Phillips, 2003). He/she is also responsible for the company’s good name. He/she is thus responsible for maintaining the company’s good reputation. Among the stakeholders of the PharmaCARE are the CEO, rest of the PharmaCARE’s executives and its Shareholders/stockholders of the enterprise. Others include the healers of the company in Colberia, the Colberians that work for PharmaCARE, the state government of New Jersey, the US Federal government and the communities affected by the lobbying of PharmaCARE.

The following is a justification of why some of the agencies or groups are considered stakeholders of PharmaCARE. One example is the state government in New Jersey. This is a stakeholder since its interested with PharmaCARE describing the state laws are regulations that PharmaCARE is required to comply with, e.g. paying taxes. Similarly, the federal government relates in the same way with PharmaCARE.The healers in Colberia can be considered close stakeholders with PharmaCARE since the facility obtains local remedies from them and possibly markets them. PharmaCARE has also been involved actively in lobbying against many environmental laws. This action has in many ways adversely affected the environment of the United States. It is from this perspective that every citizen of the United States and the federal government of the US become stakeholders of PharmaCARE (Phillips, 2003).

Q2: Analyze the human rights issues presented by PharmaCARE’s treatment of the Colberia’s indigenous population versus that of its executives. Recommend at least three (3) changes PharmaCARE can make to be more ethical going forward.

Various human rights issues arise as regards the running of corporations in the world. It has been determined that many corporations today are expanding their business enterprises. However, they are doing so by erecting branches at less regulated poorer countries where they have the power and audacity of violating human rights in many ways such as polluting the environment through harmful emissions and cutting down trees (Ingulli, 2010). To aggravate the situation, they do so with the cooperation of that countries government, by bribing the top officials. In any case, these corporations’ branches are set up businesses places where the local indigenous people are poor and living in less than standard conditions. The corporations will thus earn labor from less resistance indigenous people who they pay meager wages, another violation of human rights.

An assessment of PharmaCARE case shows prudently that the human rights of the people of Colberia’s have been violated, as regards the United Nations stipulation. This UN disclaimer applied, in this case, says that Transnational Corporations, as well as business Enterprises, have a general obligation to the indigenous people of Colberia. Along with it is the right to equal opportunity and non-discriminatory treatment of the local people (Brenker, 2010). In black and white, it’s evident that PharmaCARE has exploited the people of Colberia in the bid to further its own agenda. For instance, they have taken advantage of the local healers who have been lured into sharing their knowledge about indigenous cures just for free. In another dimension, the workers are reported to be paid meager wages ($1 per day), which make them live in substandard conditions as compared to PharmCARE staff who live lavishly at the expense of local people. These poor people reside in huts which have neither electricity nor clean water. Conversely, their ‘employers’ the executives of PharmaCARE, are living luxuriously in compounds which have access to all essential amenities requires to live a good life and added prestigious amenities such as swimming pools, golf course, and tennis courts (Cory, 2001).

Going forward, I would recommend that PharmaCARE provides transportation means for the benefit of workers. These transportation means will help workers who live far from the premises and also aid in bringing harvested goods from the jungle to the processing area of the organization. That will increase efficiency and remove the burden and tire/exhaustion of employees. Secondly, I recommend that PharmaCARE increases the wages workers. Rather than a dollar per day, it’s ethical that they pay them the same amount hourly. That will help them better their living standards. Lastly, I would recommend that PharmCARE involves itself with corporate social responsibility. For instance, they could reinvest a little of their profits in enhancing Colberia’s current infrastructure. They could also create housing for the workers within the manufacturing plant to better their lives as some may never be able to erect better housing (Brenker, 2010).

Q3: Assess PharmCARE’s environmental initiative against the backdrop of its anti-environmental lobbying efforts and Colberian activities. Support the position

PharmaCARE instigated an initiative by the name We CARE about YOUR world®. This initiative pledges PharmaCARE commitment to the environment but ironically, the company’s lobbying efforts have successfully demeaned the environmental laws and regulations and that of the Superfund tax by CERCLA (Ingulli, 2010). This law imposed heavy taxes and fines on chemical and petroleum firms particularly those that release hazardous substances that jeopardize people and environmental health (Cory, 2001)Apparently, the activities of PharmaCARE in Colberia are seen to contradict their initiative staunchly. We CARE about YOUR world®. Obviously, the company does not care about Colberia and its people. The company distorts the previously fresh environmental and deplorably treats Colberian people. As a matter of fact, PharmaCARE has done nothing good for the benefit of the indigenous people. It has taken advantage of them without caring.

Q4: Decide whether or not PharmaCARE’s actions with respect to the indigenous people of Colberia would be ethical in accordance with each of the following ethical theories:

Utilitarianism
As defined by Shapiro (2011) as a normative ethical theory that distinguishes the right from the wrong solely by judging from the outcomes (consequences). Under this theory, PharmCARE’s activities are not ethical. If so, PharmaCARE actions would have caused happiness to the local people. However, dread is what Colberians suffer.

Deontology
This theory obligates people to do as it obligates them when faced with an ethical dilemma. As such, a person ought to follow his/her obligation to another individual as doing this is what is considered ethically correct (Rainbow, 2002). Following this theory, PharmaCARE actions to the Colberia’s indigenous people cannot be regarded as morally right. The company exploits the indigenous people by paying them meager wages making them lead substandard lives (Cory, 2001).

Virtue Ethics
Virtue ethics are those actions that one does for the good of another by following his/her instincts rather than laws, customs or culture. PharmaCARE officials are short of these virtues and as such, their actions are not ethically correct. Executives have no mercy to the poor people and does nothing keep them motivated for the job. They treat the employees like slaves. Lack of virtual ethics denies the company to be ranked an ethically run organization.

Ethics of care
Ethics of care requires that both parties in play gain something from common activities. However, PharmCARE takes advantage of everything to profit themselves (Brenker, 2010). Indigenous people sacrifice their efforts but end up on the losing side. They earn low wages, and their environment is destroyed (Cory, 2001).

My own moral/ethical compass

After examining the case, I am of the free opinion that PharmaCARE violates the civil rights of the people. They have taken the environment into their hands and made people their working objects. They have no respect for human life and expose them to danger through polluting the environment. They pay meager dues to these people just they are poor and have no power to demand fairness. PharmCARE has to reconsider their CRS status. The executives should understand that caring for the employees is for the best of it too. Employees are like engines of the company and motivating them is the same as re-energizing the engine which makes the vehicle move more swiftly to accomplish the desires of the owner (Brenker, 2010).

Q5: Compare PharmaCARE’s actions with those of at least one (1) real-world company, whose corporate activities led to ethical, environmental, or workplace safety issues and financial loss. Analyze the similarities and differences between PharmaCARE and the company that you chose.

The activities of PharmCARE are likened to those of British Petroleum Company BP sometimes back. British Petroleum was involved in a serious issue which involved spillage of over 30 gallons of crude oil, a situation that has come to be known as the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. In this case scenario, 11 lives were lost and some injured. The company had at the time not installed a back-up acoustic switch claiming that it was not cost-effective at the time. The oil spillage made the environment dangerous as people lived in fear of explosions. More so, the environment was polluted. Apparently, poor people had no means to pull out of the area, and BP did nothing about it. The same case applies to PharmaCARE scenario. They built a large manufacturing plant in Africa took away the land, polluted the environment and exploited the indigenous people just because they were poor, desperate and short of knowledge of their human rights. They work for a large company but under dangerous conditions. They work long hours yet receive unfair wages. They, however, are not aware of ways to demand their rights. Similarly, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill led to the damage of countless miles of shoreline which made fishing impossible. Fish processors had to shut down meaning that the local people were left without means of securing the daily bread (Rainbow, 2002).

British Petroleum redesigned its corporate insignia of going green that suggested that “the company was looking past oil and gas toward an eco-friendly future of renewable energy.” That is just similar with what PharmaCARE initiated through erecting a logo which said “WE CARE about YOUR health®. These two logos of the two companies stated that they wanted to change and in future enjoy the reputation as caring, ethical and well-run companies through producing high-quality products that save lives and through environmental friendly ways (Ingulli, 2010). Comparing BP and PharmaCARE, it can be found that both ended up devolved into unethical practices. BP, for instance, failed to acquire equipment that would have doubled safety for the oil rig. Instead, BP officials claimed they did not need such equipment. They claimed that the cost of it was too much and following the fact that this was not a required by the government, they did not purchase it. The same case applies to PharmaCARE, which does not want to feel the cost of social responsibility. They use their large company status to acquire land in Africa to set up a plant at the expense of the little power of the indigenous people.

Interacting with experts in.net?? And learning personal skills

Plan

During the first day of the week, I was supposed to meet Mr. Chang an expert in Dot Net programming language for instructions. The session involved interview with the experts on the education requirements for one to become a programming technique. The second-day session with experts was to take place in a seminar to learn the basic requirements Dot Net programming skills. Task on the third day involved the installation of the basic required software for performing programming using software systems. The session involved understand the hardware and software system. A subtask of the session included performing hardware upgrading and software upgrading in the preparation of programming using Dot Net programming techniques (F. B. James, personal communication, February 01, 2016). The third day was training session about technologies required for advancing the higher level programming techniques. The subtask of the session included understanding the various experiences required in the operations that should be applied in Dot Net programming. The fourth day involved analyzing the basic requirements for one to implement the full development of the interfaces, applications, and web platforms. Subtask in session involved is checking online applications of Dot Net applications. The fifth day involved learning the requirements for one to secure a job as Dot Net Programmer.

Action
I booked an appointment with Mr. Chang, the expert in Dot Net programming. According to Mr. Chang the basic education skills in a various programming language is required for on to qualify for work as Dot Net programmer. Mr. Chang guided me in understanding the basics involving C# programming skills. The training involved designing dynamic websites using ASP.Net programming techniques. I designed web services which included integrating the user interface links, graphics, and directives. The researcher requires adequate knowledge and understanding of ASP Dot Net and C# programming skill to maintain as well as implement web-oriented products (B. J. Chang, personal communication, February 08, 2016). Through the session, I installed the support software that implements web programming and development using Dot Net language. I installed Microsoft Dot Net framework to facilitate easier development of web interfaces. I upgraded the computer system using Microsoft Dot Net framework version 4. I was trained on how to integrate different operations involving other development language technologies like Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Cascading styleSheet (CSS), Java programming, and database. I took part in developing a prototype website applying the techniques and skills learned during the interview session. The supported operating system that I installed included windows 7, windows server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Vista.

Observation
Through the session with Mr. Chang, I understood that the basic educations requirements for one to excellently perform the programming operations using Dot Net programming language. I observed that Dot Net programming language is applied in development and designing websites applications. Both dynamic and static website can be implemented using Dot Net programming language. I observed that minimum training skills required included having a degree qualification in computer science and other computer related technologies. The skills required as a Dot Net programmer include Java programming techniques, C# programming skills HTML, CSS and ASP Dot Net programming technologies (V. L. Breda, personal communication, February 11, 2016). The session involving operations for compatibility purposes involved the utilization of the Windows operating systems. I observed that Dot Net programming language is supported by Microsoft Dot Net Framework, which is applied to the main development environment. The operations and applications covered during training enabled me to observe the implementation of Dot Net programming in designing the user interface, client-server models, and server models. I discovered the Dot Net programming language is highly recommended since it supports the compatibility of devices. Through a training session, I discovered that Dot Net programming language solves the limitations involved with compatibility problems by supporting old and new versions of database server operating system.

Reflection
Through the session on acquiring skills in usage of Microsoft Dot Net was well covered through interaction with experts. Through the session, I understood the operations involving development and coding of web applications using Dot Net programming language. The activity of learning how to program in C#, ASP Dot Net was well implemented. I gained experience in implementing the applications on the websites that are well stunning, highly dynamic, high quality, and acceptable to the business entities. The session involving integrating other software programming techniques was well covered. I gained knowledge of how to implement and designing user interface using CSS. The HTML programming language was implemented in designing the applications that support the business operations of intranet and extranet services. The training on the use of Dot Net programming techniques applies the use of the security parameters as well as the implementing highly scalable, robust, and high-quality system (L. F. Middy, personal communication, February 18, 2016). The session that never went well-included training on the job applications. The session on obtaining the requirements for job requirement was not covered as planned as scheduled at the planning stage. However those parts not covered shall be researched in details in next stage.

Training to be a Dot Net Programmer

Plan

The marketing of myself as a Dot Net Programmer in the job market would entail attention interviews, coming up with a resume and then creating a professional brand. I planned to conduct a search for various publications so as to have a knowhow on how to adequately prepare for the interview. The researcher also planned to leverage two resource persons for the purpose of helping to shed more light to the tasks at hand more especially the task of making a professional brand and preparing for the interview. My plan involved going through various resumes on the Internet and other sources so as to familiarize myself with the major components in containment I a professional resume as that would be helpful during the application for a job in the future. A good personal brand and resume are necessary for winning an employment (Corfield, 2007). I then planned to make sure that the sample had a professional outlook.

I also planned to recap all that I had learned in the previous research tasks towards the area of Dot Net programming so as to make sure that all the knowledge of duties and responsibilities was at my fingertips. I planned to understand the basic tasks and how to carry them out since they would interview me. The other things that the researcher planned to do were to make sure to practice such soft skills as teamwork and collaboration; communication skills; problem solving; critical observation; adaptability; and conflict resolution. The researcher also planned to carry out a search on the newspapers and other platforms that advertise Dot Net programming jobs, make applications and then attend interviews. The attending of interviews would be preceded by a thorough preparation on the same using my resource persons and the other sources.

Action
On March 25, 2016, I began my search on marketing myself as a Dot Net developer for the purpose of getting a suitable employment. The researcher structured the research work in such a way that all the activities would have completion within two weeks that were scheduled for the same. In the first week, I had to make a recap of all that I had learned in the previous research activities concerning Dot Net programming. In the first week I also attending an online training for two days, that is, March 28, 2016, and March 29, 2016, and got to learn many things regarding the such soft skills like good communication, adaptability, conflict resolution, problem-solving, teamwork and collaboration among other skills. I also made a plan for the following week concerning the tasks that I wanted to accomplish in that week so as to prepare adequately for them.

The task that began within the second week was the scrutiny of the sample resumes on the Web so as to familiarize myself with the right structure and the elements that should be in containment. I requested to meet two of my resource person that was working in two different companies in the positions of the assistant human resource managers. I met the resource persons at the same time because I wanted them to help me in different activities that would have me adequately prepared for the interview and the job ahead. The meeting took place in one of the resource person’s offices in the afternoon starting at 2 pm because thy told me that in the morning, they were usually busy. They helped me to prepare for the interview and assisted me with the refining of the resume so that it had a professional look. They then helped me to come up with a professional brand.

Observation
I observed that the preparation for the interview and job was something important. In this iteration, I had to carry out some activities that helped me have adequate preparation for the activities mentioned above. I observed that the revisiting of the things I learned in the previous iterations was vital because it made me remembers everything that I had learned. That gave me the confidence to approach the interview with the assurance that I would pass it. The other thing that the researcher observed was that the practice of soft skills is a requirement for any employee because they have to be conversant with the basic of how to communicate and behave apart from their professional qualifications (Duncan & Dunifon, 2012). The daily conducting of their duties require those soft skills. Otherwise, they would become ineffective in the execution of their duties.

The researcher also observed that the interview must be preceded by adequate preparation and the preparation of the resume as well as the training of how to perform a task related to one’s profession. I observed that the interviewers have some common questions that they ask a new employee and the resource persons helped understand how to respond to them adequately. The most common question, for instance, was, ‘If we give you chance to work in this company, what new idea you will bring to the area of Dot Net project development?’ The professional brand was a requirement for making sure that a job seeker reaches many people (Dixson & Arruda, 2013). I observed that an online profile of the professional brand would help in marketing oneself effectively, and it would provide the chance for making changes as appropriate.

Reflection
The iteration on marketing myself as Dot Net programmer went on well in almost every area that I wanted to address. I addressed most of them although not as adequate as I would have wanted. The various sources that I leverage to find information regarding interviews and practice of other skills were very rich with relevant information that I wanted. The online training on the practice of soft skills also helped me to have all the soft skills that are my requirement for any professional. The resource persons were also helpful because they complemented what I had gathered from the Web and other sources, ensuring that I was well versed in all the things that are vital to getting and maintaining employment. I met them during the time when they were not very busy, and so they willingly gave me the information I wanted to get from them.

A few things did not go as was planned among them being the lack of covering everything that was in my pan for this iteration. Among the things that were planned and never happened include the use of sources like newspapers to find job advertisements and the failure to scrutinize thoroughly the various job offerings advertised on the Internet. I plan to create more time for the activities in my plan in the future so as to make sure that I perform every activity as planned for the purpose of garnering more knowledge and experience in the area I will be conducting research. Another thing that I did not do was the visiting of companies to take my resume and applications as I only relied on the job offerings on the Web. In the future, I would have to apply online and also visit companies to seek for a job.