Whistle-blowing Reading Discussion Questions



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A Word to the Wise: How Managers and Policy-Makers Can Encourage Employees to Report
Author(s): Marda P. Miceli, Janet P. Near and Terry Morehead Dworkin
Source: Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 86, No. 3 (May, 2009), pp. 379-396
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40294896
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Journal of Business Ethics (2009) 86:379-396
© Springer 2008
DOI 10.1007/sl0551-008-9853-6
A Word to the Wise: How Managers
and Policy-Makers can Encourage
Employees to Report Wrongdoing
ABSTRACT. When successful and ethical managers are
alerted to possible organizational wrongdoing, they take
corrective action before the problems become crises.
However, recent research [e.g., Rynes et al. (2007,
Academy of Management Journal 50(5), 987-1008)] indicates that many organizations fail to implement evidence-based practices (i.e., practices that are consistent
with research findings), in many aspects of human
resource management. In this paper, we draw from years
of research on whistle-blowing by social scientists and
legal scholars and offer concrete suggestions to managers
who are interested in encouraging internal reporting of
problems requiring attention, and to observers of questionable activity who are considering reporting it. We
also identify ways that research suggests policy-makers
can have a more positive influence. We hope that these
suggestions will help foster evidence-based practice
regarding whistle-blowing.
KEY WORDS: human resource management, legal
issues, organizational wrongdoing, retaliation, whistleblowing
Whistle-blowing – when current or former
employees disclose illegal, immoral, or illegitimate
organizational activity to parties they believe may be
able to stop it – clearly benefits societies, when the
process works as it should (Near and Miceli, 1985).
For example, if a whistle-blower reports that a toy
Marcia P. Miceli
Janet P. Near
Terry Morehead Dworkin
are released to the public, prospective buyers and
sellers of the company’s stock will not be misled.
Whether whistle-blowing can benefit the orga-
nization in which wrongdoing may occur may
seem less clear. Obviously, the ethical position to
take regarding possible organizational wrongdoing
is to try to stop it before it happens or – after the
fact – to respond fully and quickly by investigating
any complaint of wrongdoing and taking correc-
tive action if needed. But there may also be
benefits to the organization, though from its
managers’ perspective these benefits of whistleblowing may appear less obvious or seem outweighed by the costs. For example, some managers
may worry that the financial cost of whistleblowing will reduce stock prices or even result in
bankruptcy. Or, they may be concerned that
complaining, particularly to outsiders such as the
media or the courts, is disloyal or could undermine managerial authority, relationships, trust, or
the organization’s reputation.
Employees, perhaps sensing that managers will
not welcome complaints, often do not speak up.
Media reports and prior research indicate that: (a)
many, if not most, employees believe they have
encountered some wrongdoing on the job in the
previous year or two; (b) most employees who
has been manufactured with lead-based paint or parts
perceive that wrongdoing is occurring do not act
on it, in many cases because they believe nothing
can or will be done to correct the problems; and
that could pose a choking hazard, prompt corrective
manufacturing action or recall can save the lives of
(c) these beliefs are often well-founded (e.g.,
Gogoi, 2007; Miceli and Near, 1992; Schulman,
children whose parents would purchase these toys
for them. Similarly, when an employee convinces
management that financial reports are overly rosy,
and management corrects errors before the reports
Yet recent research shows that whistle-blowing,
and appropriate responses to it, also benefit the
organizations in which wrongdoing is occurring, for
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at least three reasons. If firms self-correct their
survey of FTSE top 250 companies said they had a
wrongdoing, then employees have no need to notify
outsiders of problems, saving the firm’s reputation
and sparing potential legal costs incurred in the firm’s
whistle-blowing reporting procedure (Lewis and
Render, 2007a).
On the other hand, a recent survey of
defense; for example, it is often cheaper to redesign
employees working for multinational companies in
or recreate unsafe products than to recall them and
Europe indicated that, while 86% of respondents
pay litigation costs. Second, the culture may be
in the United Kingdom said they would feel
enhanced; employees may be more satisfied and feel
more committed to organizations where wrongdoing does not occur or where it is quickly corrected
(e.g., Glomb et al., 1997; Magley and Cortina, 2002;
comfortable blowing the whistle, fewer than half
Miceli and Near, 1994; Miceli et al, 2001). Third,
when employees do not blow the whistle or those
who do so are ignored, negatively impacting society
at large, legislators may act to restrict organizational
discretion, as with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)
(Dworkin, 2007; Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 2002).
Happily, effective internal whistle-blowing (whistle-
of the respondents from France, the Czech
Republic, and Austria agreed (Ernst and Young,
2007). These results suggest that, although companies can take steps to improve conditions for
preventing, reporting, and correcting wrongdoing
within the organization, many managers may not
know of these steps, and that companies vary as to
the levels of perceived success in encouraging
internal whistle-blowing.
Toward this end, our first purpose is to identify
blowing to parties within the organization or
steps that managers can take to avoid the potentially
through confidential hotlines), provides an ethical
way to stop wrongdoing that can be profitable, save
the firm’s reputation, and protect from legal and
legislative reactions to wrongdoing. Nowhere is this
point better exemplified than in the comments of
one of the world’s leading investors:
negative effects of both unreported wrongdoing
and external whistle-blowing. Second, we discuss
points that potential whistle-blowers should consider before taking action. Finally, we address legal
and social issues that we believe are important to
the actions of legislators and other policy-makers,
and that should be explored before they pass legislation or set policy.
Ideally, an article offering advice about whistleblowing would be thoroughly grounded in a comprehensive body of controlled research. Too often,
Warren E. Buffett, chairman of the board of Berkshire
Hathaway, a global investment firm with 180,000
employees, praised the company’s recently installed
hotline in his 2005 chairman’s letter. “Berkshire would
be more valuable today if I had put in a whistleblowing
conventional wisdom is flawed when it comes to
(hot) line decades ago,” he wrote. “The issues raised
are usually not of a type discoverable by audit, but
advice about how to deal with whistle-blowers. For
relate instead to personnel and business practices”
(Slovin, 2006, p. 46).
retaliation will reduce the incidence of whistle-
Similarly, an eminent professor of management
high risk of more costs to potential whistle-blowers,
at Stanford Business School said recently: “…I’ve
met corporate CEOs who are adamant about
uncovering problems in their organizations. They
know that they can only make sound decisions and
fix problems when they know the ‘hard facts’.”
(Pfeffer, 2007, p. 48). As one example outside the
USA, respondents to a recent survey of Philippine
companies showed that more than 60% of them
said their companies had established mechanisms
to encourage potential whistle-blowers to alert
management about poor business practices within
the workplace (BusinessWorld, 2008). As another
example, nearly all of the respondents to a British
example, it may seem obvious that threatening
blowing because threats impose a cost and suggest
e.g., ruining one’s career. However, empirical evidence strongly suggests that threatening retaliation
does not discourage many whistle-blowers, and
indeed encourages some to report wrongdoing to
the media or other outsiders, as documented in the
film about the tobacco industry, The Insider, profiling
whistle-blower Dr. Jeffrey Wigand (Armenakis,
2004; Miceli and Near, 1992). As this example
suggests, research findings about whistle-blowing are
often counterintuitive and do not always support our
stereotypes. In recommending actions to managers,
we rely on results from existing research, rather than
conventional wisdom.
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Whistle-blowing: an international
Further, because the body of empirical literature
concerning whistle-blowing outside of North
American settings is in its infancy, we simply do not
Whistle-blowing occurs throughout the world (e.g.,
Miceli et al., 2008). For example, its occurrence has
been noted in the following countries:
• Anguilla (e.g., Mitchell, 2006)
• Armenia (e.g., Garbis, 2007)
• Australia (e.g., Anonymous, 2002; Brown and
Australian Research Council Linkage Project,
2007; Callahan et al., 2004; De Maria, 1997)
• Austria (e.g., Ernst and Young, 2007)
• Canada (e.g., Laver, 1996; Thiessen, 1998)
• The Czech Republic (e.g., Ernst and Young,
• Croatia (e.g., Tavakoli et al, 2003)
• France (e.g., Ernst and Young, 2007)
• Great Britain (e.g., Anonymous, 2002; Callahan et al, 2004; De Maria, 1997; Dobson,
1998; Figg, 2000; Lewis, 2002; Lewis and
Kender, 2007a, b)
• Hong Kong (e.g., Chua, 1998; Near and

Miceli, 1988)
India (e.g., Keenan, 2002)
Ireland (e.g., Feldman, 2002)
Israel (e.g., Day, 1996; Seagull, 1995)
Jamaica (e.g., Sims and Keenan, 1999)
• Japan (e.g., Akabayashi, 2002; Yoshida, 2001)
• Korea (e.g., Park et al, 2005; Rehg and
Parkhe, 2002)
• The Netherlands (e.g., Bates, 1999)
• New Zealand (e.g., Beattie, 2000)
• The Philippines (e.g., BusinessWorld, 2008)
• Russia (e.g., Knox, 1997)
• Singapore (e.g., Business Times Singapore,
• Somalia (e.g., Anonymous, 1996)
• South Africa (e.g., Camerer, 2001)
• Sri Lanka (e.g., Ranasinghe, 2007)
• Thailand (Audit Committee Institute in
Thailand, 2007)
know to what extent the research findings in each
country outside of North America might be representative.
Second, societal cultures and organizational
environments that may influence whistle-blowing
differ. It is easy to imagine how country or culture
characteristics could affect whether observers be-
lieve they have witnessed wrongdoing, whether
they or anyone has the responsibility for reporting
it, and the costs and benefits of acting. For exam-
ple, whistle-blowing may be more widely accepted
in the USA than in other cultures, and definitions
of wrongdoing may vary (Ethics*Point, 2005), e.g.,
some types of bribery of certain officials may be
considered merely a cost of doing business in some
environments, but in others, wholly unacceptable.
Theories about cultural differences imply intriguing
research questions about the international context
of whistle-blowing (e.g., Keenan, 2002; Sims and
Keenan, 1998, 1999; Tavakoli et al., 2003).
Unfortunately, there is little cross-cultural research
testing these theories, and consequently a taxonomy
that includes a comprehensive treatment of legal,
economic, and organizational conditions that may
differ across countries has not yet been developed.
Recent attempts to specify a taxonomy have focused primarily on cultural influences as predictors
of whistle-blowing within countries (Rehg and
Parkhe, 2002), and the extant research has been
described in more depth elsewhere (e.g., Miceli
et al, 2008).
Third, as we implied above, laws relevant to
whistle-blowing vary substantially across countries.
There is a growing and ever-widening array of
whistle-blowing legislation. While the USA may be
the most active country in term of enacting whistle-
blowing legislation, it is not unique in its increasing
focus on whistle-blowing as a means to combat
wrongdoing. Many other countries and international
organizations have enacted some form of whistle-
In this article, we focus primarily on advice to
people in organizations in the USA, for several
have been explored in depth elsewhere (e.g., Miceli
the research has been conducted in North American
et al, 2008).
Legislatures in several countries have adopted
interrelated reasons. The first reason is that much of
settings, but that research may not generalize to
other cultures, nor even to areas in North America.
blower legislation, and these legal developments
whistle-blowing laws to encourage whistle-blowing,
heighten transparency, and deter wrongdoing.
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The majority of these countries have a common law
tradition or a legal system strongly influenced by
that tradition. Many have been influenced by US
whistle-blowing legislation. Countries with legisla-
tion include the United Kingdom, New Zealand,
Australia (state and territorial legislation), Canada,
wrongdoing is occurring; most Australian statutes
are similar. The UK similarly does not protect badfaith reporting, but in addition also requires that the
disclosure tend to show one or more of specified
violations listed in the statute (Employment Rights
tion, multinational organizations such as the United
Act (Eng.), 1996). A third similarity is that publicsector employees receive greater protection than
those working in the private sector. Often private-
Nations have adopted rules protecting whistle-
sector employees are not included in statutory
blowers. Of these countries, the USA, the UK, and
Ireland, Israel, South Korea, and Japan. In addi-
Australia have probably most closely documented
and discussed the effects of their laws. In fact, results
In general, employer- employee confidentiality is
more important in the UK than in the USA and
from a recent survey in Australia (Brown and Aus-
Australia. This is reflected in the fact that the UK
tralian Research Council Linkage Project, 2007)
legislation requires internal reporting in most circumstances. Australian and the large majority of US
show rates of wrongdoing and whistle-blowing very
similar to those found in the Merit Systems Pro-
tection Board (MSPB) surveys in the USA (e.g.,
Miceli et al., 1999), perhaps in part because of
similarities in the laws in the two nations.
statutes favor external reports. In terms of the severity
of the wrongdoing, the UK and US statutes do not use
normative terms regarding the wrongdoing, whereas
state legislation, they also tend to encompass a broad
several Australian statutes do (Callahan et al., 2004;
Miceli and Near, 1992).
Probably the biggest difference between the US,
and UK and Australian whistle-blowing laws is the
array of wrongdoing. However, they vary in
reluctance or refusal of the last two to reward
As in all US whistle-blowing statutes, these laws
protect whistle-blowers from retaliation. As in US
important ways in other aspects such as whether
whistle-blowers, as is done under the False Claims
external reporting must be done to particular
Act and equivalent state statutes. Indeed, the UK
legislation specifically denies protection to whistleblowers who give information for gain. Motive for
recipients, whether protection of the whistle-blower
should depend on the motive behind the whistleblowing, whether financial incentives are offered,
whether the whistle-blower must first report the
wrongdoing within the organization, and whether
only reporting on public sector wrongdoing is protected. To make these points clearer, we take legislation from the UK and Australia as examples, and
compare and contrast them with US legislation.
One key similarity is that whistle-blowing to the
media is frowned upon or not protected in any of
these countries. No US state identifies the media as a
reporting is less important than getting useful
information in the US (e.g., Miceli et al., 2008).
Despite these limitations, and unanswered questions, we believe that the research does suggest some
actions that managers can take, and other practical
advice. The legal and some other cultural similarities
across Australia, the UK, and the US suggest that
advice regarding whistle-blowing might be most
generalizable among these countries, with adaptations reflecting differences, some of which are dis-
proper recipient, and the UK protects reporting to
cussed above. Managers in countries outside of
the media only when strict perquisites are met under
North America, the US, and Australia could con-
limited circumstances (e.g., Miceli et al., 2008). In
sider the extent to which the advice offered would
Australia, only the state of New South Wales
be pertinent or require further modification in their
authorizes a media report, and this only under limited circumstances (Protected Disclosure Act, 1994).
tion to describing these actions.
environments. Therefore, we now turn our atten-
This reluctance is likely the result of legislators’
mistrust of media whistle-blowers’ motives.
A second similarity is that, in all three, protection under the statute is denied for bad faith
Actions that managers can take
whistle-blowing (Callahan et al., 2004). Virtually all
One way to stop wrongdoing in organizations is for
US jurisdictions require a reasonable belief that
external forces (e.g., government regulatory agencies
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or the free market) to exert influence over the
Trevino et al, 1999; Weaver and Trevino, 1999;
organization to convince top management to terminate ongoing wrongdoing or avoid new wrong-
Weaver et al., 1999a, b), we know of only one study
involving interviews and surveys with managers
doing. A second method is for internal forces within
focused specifically on identifying actions to encourage
the organization to exert pressure on members not
whistle-blowing. This study, which has been de-
to engage in wrongdoing to start with. Once
wrongdoing has become entrenched, internal forces
scribed in two preliminary reports, was conducted
jointly by the International Business Ethics Institute
may not work, because dismantling an organizational culture that normalizes wrongdoing – or
(IBEI), in partnership with others, including the
Ethics and Compliance Officer Association (Heard
makes it seem normal and legitimate – is very difficult (Misangyi et al., 2008). Cultures that normalize wrongdoing provide a “logic of corruption” that
may be best disrupted by “institutional entrepre-
and Miller, 2006a, b). At the time of our writing, no
neurs” who attempt to reframe the culture, through
“legitimating accounts” that support symbolic
identities and meanings that lead to a new, “anticorrupt logic” (Ashforth and Anand, 2003; Misangyi
et al., 2008). It strikes us that whistle-blowers might
be one of the most important types of institutional
entrepreneurs to launch such a change in the culture
of the organization that supports normalization of
wrongdoing. The question then is how to encourage
whistle-blowing to powerful parties within the
organization who will take appropriate action.
Managers who do so may avoid the obviously
intrusive external forces that would otherwise exert
pressure on them to avoid new wrongdoing or terminate existing wrongdoing.
Other than articles focused on improving ethical
behavior in general (e.g., Trevino and Weaver, 2001;
comprehensive report, including more specific
information about methodology, had yet been published. Below, we have integrated recommendations
from that study with information from research
studies on whistle-blowing, and other sources.
In Table I, we have summarized action steps that
we recommend. In general, the results of the IBEI
study and of prior empirical research support the
notion that top managers should create a culture for
encouraging good performance that is ethical. Pre-
venting behavior that undermines this goal, and
responding appropriately to irregularities, including
perceived wrongdoing, obviously must be a part of
such a culture, because these actions promote selfcorrection and reinforcement of ethical values and
standards. In fact, Weaver noted that organizations
have the opportunity to create the development of
moral agency among their members, thereby leading
to stronger moral identity among those members:
“moral actions can reinforce moral identity,
A summary of some action steps for managers
Before concerns are expressed
• Encourage the development of moral identity and moral agency.
• Create a tough antiretaliation policy that permits disciplining or dismissing employees who retaliate against whistleblowers.
• Disseminate the policy through the intranet, in orientation materials, and elsewhere.
• Search for and select employees who possess attributes associated with observation of wrongdoing, and whistle-blowing.
• Orient and train employees about what the organization considers wrongful, and what to do if wrongdoing is observed.
• Consider building incentives for valid internal whistle-blowing into the reward structure.
Once concerns are expressed
• Focus on the wrongdoing alleged in the complaint and not on the complainant.
• Investigate reports fully and fairly.
• Take swift corrective action when the complaint is well-founded.
• Provide feedback so that management gets credit for taking action.
• Provide multiple communication channels so that employees can choose to report to someone with whom they are
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making it more central in one’s overall self-concept”
behavior, the selection process can make a differ-
(Weaver, 2006, p. 351). He suggested that moral
ence. Employers can search for and select employees
who possess attributes associated with observation of
behavior should not be the primary focus; instead,
managers should be concerned about developing
moral identity among organization members,
wrongdoing, and whistle-blowing. Among those
attributes that seem to influence observation of
because only a strong sense of moral identity can lead
wrongdoing are negative affectivity and proactive
an employee to develop a schema of moral agency
that will allow him or her to engage in moral
Findings from one study of negative affectivity
behavior on a consistent basis. Organizations reinforce the development of moral identity through
their actions, and moral behavior, engaged in by
employees, reinforces the culture of moral identity
among organization members as a group. However,
organizations “that foster moral muteness” provide
suggest that it is associated with observation of
wrongdoing, but not necessarily with whistleblowing (Miceli et al., 2001). Negative affectivity is
an enduring disposition (or personality trait) to
less opportunity for the development of moral
experience subjective distress (Watson and Walker,
1996). Persons high in negative affectivity are more
critical of themselves and others, and they experi-
identity, likely leading to less moral behavior among
ence more stress, anxiety, nervousness, anger, fear,
members (Weaver, 2006, p. 352).
and guilt (Watson and Clark, 1984). Obviously,
The creation and maintenance of a positive culture
recruiters might be inclined to pass over applicants
who are high in negative affectivity, because they
is a long-term, comprehensive goal, and there are
many systems that can support the development of
may come across as unenthusiastic, hard to get along
that culture. These can be roughly categorized into (a)
with, or hard to please. But employees with high
policies and human resource systems, e.g., involving
organizational entry, training and development, and
employer financial incentives for whistle-blowers;
negative affectivity may recognize wrongdoing more
and (b) systems to investigate and respond to concerns.
correctly than do people with low negative affectivity
scores. If so, people with this trait would bring a
valuable ability to the workplace, if they are otherwise well qualified. On the other hand, if they tend
Policies and human resource systems
to be overly critical, perhaps training would help to
clarify organizational definitions of wrongdoing.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, ex-
whether the judgments of people with high negative
perts on sexual harassment advise that employers
should create a tough anti-retaliation policy that
permits the dismissal of employees who retaliate
affectivity are more accurate and realistic, or just
commitment to diversity of personalities, will be
(Lublin, 2006). Similar policies may be appropriate for
shown to be ideal.
other types of wrongdoing as well, and policies to
encourage whistle-blowing should go beyond pro-
tivity is associated with whistle-blowing by
Obviously, more research is needed to determine
tection from retaliation and punishing the wrongdoer,
as has been detailed elsewhere (e.g., Heard and Miller,
2006a). Policies can be incorporated into the materials
given to employees during orientation and made
available on company intranet systems. Below we
discuss how organizations can support policies and
take actions that go beyond mere lip service.
more negative. Perhaps a middle ground, or a
The limited research to date suggests that proac-
employees who have observed wrongdoing (Miceli
et al., 2001). Proactive personality stems from people’s need to control their surroundings, and it is
reflected in the extent to which individuals take
action to influence their environments. There seems
to be little downside risk regarding recruiting and
hiring highly proactive people, because proactive
personality is associated not only with whistleblowing within the organization, but also with other
positive outcomes such as sales success (Bateman and
Organizational entry
Crant, 1993; Langer, 1983). These findings provide
To the extent that dispositions and other individual
even more reason for those critical of whistle-
differences are important determinants of employee
blowing to rethink their views. Proactive people can
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provide a very positive resource to the organization
– in sales, in prosocial organizational behavior, in
problem-solving – though some managers may feel
threatened by them.
After newcomers join the organization, orientation materials can be helpful. In many larger organizations, employees are provided with employee
handbooks at the time of orientation. Many com-
they provided training for managers in how to
handle concerns, and only 23% offered training for
potential users of the whistle-blowing procedures
(Lewis and Kender, 2007a).
It has been recommended that training – for
both managers and for employees – should be
dedicated exclusively to raising concerns, avoiding
retaliation, and recognizing when retaliation is
panies include codes of ethics and antiretaliation
policies in these handbooks (Lublin, 2006). For
example, Michaels Stores Inc. recently added an
antiretaliation policy to its corporate code of con-
occurring (Heard and Miller, 2006a). Among their
specific suggestions on the content and process of
such training were recommendations that trainers
duct, which middle and upper managers must sign
annually. “Management primarily wanted to ensure
how concerns will be addressed, and emphasize that
speaking up produces a positive impact (Heard and
‘a pleasant working environment free from all types
of harassment’,” says a spokeswoman for the Irving,
Texas, company. “The fact that it could potentially
reduce legal exposure was a secondary focus'”
(Lublin, 2006, p. B4).
Code standards should show how seriously the
organization takes employee concerns, tell employees what to expect when raising concerns, and, most
importantly, where to take concerns (Heard and
Miller, 2006a, b). Clear procedures, actively and
should discuss reasons to report concerns, show
Miller, 2006a). The vast body of research on
training and development has identified many ways
to enhance the value and transfer of training in
general, and it could be applied to whistle-blowing
training as well (e.g., Hatala and Fleming, 2007;
Shapiro et al., 2007). Additionally, one scholar
(Fine, 2006) has argued that the profession of
industrial psychology should insist that whistleblowing be a normal part of worker training.
While all of this advice is reasonable, we know of
effectively maintained (e.g., when employees are
no controlled research demonstrating the effective-
asked to sign that they have read the code or take an
ness of training regarding whistle-blowing, and such
online test about its contents, after reading a webpage), reduce not only harassment and reliability
liability but also the likelihood of punitive damages.
They can also help reduce fines and penalties under
the Corporate Sentencing Guidelines (United States
Sentencing Commission, 1991).
research is sorely needed. Despite this dearth of
research, the federal government has begun to
require training about whistle-blowing (Gibeaut,
2006). This mirrors what many states have done in
the area of sexual harassment (Gibeaut, 2006).
Employer financial incentives for whistle-blowers
Training and development
Complementary to their organizational entry and
Organizations have been advised to provide training
training efforts, employers can consider encouraging
to reduce the incidence of wrongdoing (such as
the reporting of concerns through financial incentives, such as a percentage of savings recovered as a
discrimination, including sexual harassment) and
retaliation against those who complain about per-
ceived wrongdoing (Lublin, 2006). For example,
result of internal whistle-blowing (e.g., where
embezzlement is caught), a salary increase in a merit
Cardinal Building Maintenance Inc., a commercial
system, a one-time cash bonus (e.g., in a suggestion
janitorial service, requires supervisors and managers
to attend an annual 5-hour class about workplace
bias and harassment, and one-fourth of the course
system), or some other financial reward for whistle-
focuses on retaliation (Lublin, 2006, p. B4). However, a recent survey of companies in the UK indicated that fewer than half of the respondents said
blowing. Often employers provide incentives for
employees who provide useful suggestions (e.g., in a
suggestion box format), especially if they lead to
greater productivity or lowered production costs, as
in gain-sharing programs (Arthur and Huntley,
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2005). Workplace rewards might be similarly
implemented for whistle-blowers who provide
demonstrate that the majority of employees really are
uninfluenced by financial incentives, for at least four
information that helps reduce costs due to ongoing
wrongdoing. As for financial incentives offered by
entities other than the employing organization, such
private employers in the USA and the vast majority
of these programs are individually based merit pay
(salary increase) programs or bonus systems (Zall,
as the federal and state governments in the case of
fraud committed by contractors, we discuss these in
the section of this article focusing on advice for
As results from previous research indicate (Miceli
and Near, 1992), observers of wrongdoing consider
the costs and benefits of acting, along with other
factors. The simplest interpretation of motivation theory would suggest that providing valued
employer rewards for internal whistle-blowing
First, some form of variable pay is widely used by
2001). Managers would be unlikely to continue such
systems – which are costly and difficult to administer
– if they did not believe or find through experience
that employees could be encouraged, via pay, to
behave in desired ways. It would seem that valid
internal whistle-blowing could be rewarded in the
same way as strong job performance.
Second, in the USA at least, taboos and privacy
would increase its frequency, all other factors such as
concerns often discourage employees from admitting
potential retaliation being equal or minimized.
that they value money or that it influences their level
Consistent with this view, a KPMG survey showed
of effort on the job. Even CEOs are expected to say
that “workers said rewards or incentives for adhering
that they work for the challenge first and foremost.
to company standards would reinforce ethics pro-
Millionaire athletes are not worthy of respect unless
grams” (Ridge, 2000, p. Al).
they play “for the love of the game.” Yet, clearly the
However, we are aware of no private-sector US
organizations that provide direct financial incentives
specifically to reward whistle-blowing (Near and
Miceli, 1996), other than in the case of accountants
and internal auditors, e.g., at the consulting firm
amounts and nature of compensation influence their
The third and fourth reasons have to do with how
BDO Seidman, and thus no published research
whistle-blowing is studied. People who have been
identified as whistle-blowers to date may not be
typical of employees in general; we know they are a
studies of them (e.g., Rankin, 2004). Because finan-
small minority of all workers, and what it takes for
cial incentives for whistle-blowing are exceedingly
rare, we cannot say whether they result in more
actual whistle-blowing.
One early survey study asked employees in general (not just observers of wrongdoing or whistleblowers) whether, hypothetically, they would be
more willing to blow the whistle if they received
them to come forward may be different from what it
financial rewards for reporting wrongdoing (US
Merit Systems Protection Board, 1981). Somewhat
surprisingly, a large majority said this would not
affect their behavior. On the one hand, this is consistent with the fact most whistle-blowers to date
have acted without clear financial incentives. Maybe
they could see important nonfinancial benefits
already in the situation, are extremely selfless, or
process information in ways most people might
takes to encourage others. Further, regarding the
survey and scenario studies, social scientists have
long debated the extent to which people’s descriptions of how they would act in a given situation
(when presented with a hypothetical scenario by a
researcher) reflect real behavior when actually in that
situation. People may want to please the researcher
or respond in ways that are consistent with the image
they want to have of themselves. Of course, variables
such as social desirability (whether biases or dispositional tendencies) may influence actual workplace
behavior (in this case, actual whistle-blowing) as well
(e.g., Hewlin, 2003; Premeaux and Bedeian, 2003;
Smith and Ellingson, 2002; Turnley and Bolino,
2001). However, the key point is that what people
consider “emotional” rather than a rational assess-
say they would do is not necessarily the same as what
ment of expected costs and benefits. On the other
hand, we believe that most past whistle-blowers’
experiences and the survey result do not necessarily
they would actually do, and what people say would
influence their behavior is not necessarily what
actually influences them. More specifically, a recent
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meta-analysis of whistle-blowing studies showed that
be implemented, which we summarize, and then
the predictors of whistle-blowing intentions (e.g.,
what study participants say they would do when
confronted with a hypothetical case of wrongdoing
described on paper) are not necessarily the same as
describe our reasoning and support in greater detail.
the predictors of actual whistle-blowing, as reported
by employees who actually blew the whistle on
wrongdoing they observed during the past year
(Mesmer-Magnus and Viswesvaran, 2005).
Fourth, the survey study participants may have
thought they were being asked whether they must
be bribed in order to behave in a morally correct or
appropriate way. The vast majority of participants
had indicated in a previous question on the same
survey that they approved of the reporting of
wrongdoing. Since it may be unacceptable to most
people to admit that cash incentives would be necessary to do the “right” thing, it may have been
easier simply to say that incentives would make no
For any of these reasons, then, survey responses
regarding incentives may not reflect what employees
actually think and do, and more research is needed
to determine whether and how compensation can be
structured to encourage whistle-blowing. In some
cultures, monetary rewards for whistle-blowing may
be viewed as unacceptable. However, in the USA, as
we will discuss later, rewards paid by the government to certain whistle-blowers have significantly
spurred whistle-blowing under the False Claims Act.
Therefore, we recommend that managers consider
• Managers should establish and support a culture supporting communication, including
multiple channels for reporting concerns.
• When a concern is voiced, we encourage
managers to focus on the wrongdoing
alleged in the complaint and not engage in
attacks on the complainant.
• Managers should undertake a full and fair
investigation, followed by swift corrective
action when the complaint is well founded.
This sometimes includes appropriate punishment for wrongdoers.
• To the extent that confidentiality is not at
issue, positive feedback indicating how the
problem has been corrected should be shared
with others as well, e.g., “thanks to a report
from one of our associates, we were alerted
to this problem and took the following
• Where complaints are unfounded, employees
can be counseled on what is lacking; for
example, is the evidence unclear?
Below we discuss systems that can help facilitate this
general advice.
Internal communication channels and hotlines
implementing performance review systems that
specifically assess employee reporting of questionable
activity through appropriate channels, and reward
systems that provide incentives for valid whistleblowing.
Systems to encourage, investigate,
and respond to expression of concerns
Other employer actions can focus specifically on the
systems for handling concerns. Particularly since the
According to a KPMG survey of private- and public-sector employees (e.g., Grimsley, 2000), more
than four-fifths of respondents would choose their
supervisor or another manager as the complaint
channel, if they were to report concerns (Heard and
Miller, 2006b). However, the same survey showed
that ‘”people are not reporting misconduct because
they are not encouraged to do so,’ says Richard
Girgenti, a KPMG executive” (Ridge, 2000, p. Al).
Thus, managers should “create a corporate culture
where dialogue and feedback are regular practice and this should extend to every level of employee
passage of SOX, US organizations have established
systems to encourage, investigate, and respond to
expression of concerns, even if it is as simple as
urging employees to discuss sensitive issues with
environment, demonstrate to employees that it is safe
their supervisors. Four general recommendations can
to raise concerns, and exhibit that the organization
throughout the organization. Such a culture can
build the foundation of an open problem-solving
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takes retaliation seriously” (Heard and Miller, 2006a,
The investigation process and correction of wrongdoing
p. 2).
Heard and Miller recommended anonymous
The primary purpose of the investigation process is
surveys to assess employee perceptions, as a first step
in a two-way communication process in which
to determine whether the complaint has merit, so
that appropriate actions can be taken. Organizations
and their members are not well served by ignoring
employees express their views (Heard and Miller,
2006a, p. 7). They offered specifics about the content and analysis of the surveys, and recommended
follow-up focus groups. They also recommended
that multiple, effective communication channels be
available, to enable employees to select the person(s)
with whom they are most comfortable sharing sen-
real wrongdoing, such as discrimination or serious
unsafe working conditions. However, they are also
not well served by rewarding the gadfly or chronic
low performer seeking to distract attention, nor
by wasting time on frivolous complaints. As Perry
sitive information. Alternative channels are essential
blower’s complaint may be irrelevant for the orga-
noted, “although the authenticity of a whistle-
to avoiding liability in sexual harassment cases so that
nization that chooses to ignore it or to retaliate
the victim does not have to report to the harasser;
against the whistle-blower, it is clearly relevant to
the organization that wishes to respond appropri-
the same logic would apply here. Alternative
reporting routes were implemented under Sarbanes-
ately. Responsive organizations are faced with
Oxley (SOX), partly as a way to address similar
investigating the complaint to identify whether it is
found a positive correlation between increased
authentic or inauthentic” (Perry, 1991, p. 12).
Determining merit or authenticity is often easier
said than done. Obviously some whistle-blowers can
internal whistle-blowing and having specific, iden-
be mistaken, or may find objectionable certain types
tified routes for whistle-blowing, a particular person
of behavior that are not widely defined as wrongdoing, but there have been many documented cases
where valid concerns were ignored. Further, many
Consistent with this advice, researchers have
identified to receive and follow-up the information,
and a strong nonretaliatory policy encouraging
whistle-blowing (Barnett et al., 1993; Miceli and
Near, 1992). Open-door policies do not meet these
requirements. They are also unlikely to result in
compliance under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
Interestingly, some multinational corporations
have provided international hotlines, with protec-
tion standardized to some extent; for example,
Heineken International’s website (Heineken International, 2008) noted: “Safeguarding confidentiality
and anonymity – If, for any reason, the reporter
does not think it possible or desirable to report to
the line manager or the Trusted Representative, or
complaint recipients perceive that only a tiny
minority of complaints are valid, but other data
suggest that in reality many more have substance, at
least under certain circumstances (e.g., Miceli and
Near, 2005).
Unfortunately, the validity of complaints, and
predictors and consequences of validity, have rarely
been studied systematically; so, findings must be
considered preliminary. However, they certainly
raise a critical point: Obviously, employers who
perceive that complaints are frivolous are unlikely to
take corrective action, and if they refuse to act on a
large proportion that are valid, then even employees
if (s)he chooses to remain anonymous, a world-
with valid concerns will quickly conclude that
wide toll-free external multi-lingual telephone ser-
nothing will happen if they complain. This creates a
vice is offered (24/7) for reporting or advice
regarding the procedure to be followed. This
wrongdoing, so officials take few corrective actions,
international help line will establish contact between
the whistle blower and the local Trusted Representative or the Integrity Committee.” Detailed
advice on implementing international hotlines and
vicious circle in which employees rarely report real
to which employees react by believing nothing
would be done to correct wrongdoing if it were
reported, and reports drop further. The extant
information suggests that organizations should
other internal channels has been offered elsewhere
examine not only the numbers of complaints filed,
(e.g., Audit Committee Institute in Thailand, 2007;
Ethics*Point, 2005).
but also what proportion of complaints is found
to be meritorious. They should look for ways to
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improve investigations or take other steps – such as
clarifying what wrongdoing is and what evidence
employees should provide – where these numbers
reducing tangible costs to the organization associated
are low.
with wrongdoing itself (e.g., adverse publicity,
damaged reputation, lawsuits); managers who
prevent or correct wrongdoing may engender
Too often, we have heard managers allege that a
whistle-blower is just a troublemaker who has had a
pattern of reporting wrongdoing repeatedly – apart
positive feelings and favorable consequences among
We would call particular attention to advice of-
from the question of whether the wrongdoing might
fered by Heard and Miller, and others, that reports of
be real in the present incident. In their study of
employers’ advice and practices, Heard and Miller
identified two key tendencies that should be avoided: (1) “shooting the messenger,” in which focus is
misdirected from resolving the wrongdoing and
retaliation should be taken seriously. Litigation
toward punishing the whistle-blower, and (2)
eliminating the “bad apples” (punishing the
regarding retaliation is the largest source of discrimination claims currently. As noted in a recent
article appearing in Business Week, in 2005 and 2006,
retaliation claims represented 30% of all charges
individuals filed with the Equal Employment Oppor-
tunity Commission, an increase from about 20%
wrongdoers) but failing to “identify a systemic cause
10 years ago. Further, a recent Supreme Court rul-
or rectify the actual problem” (Heard and Miller,
ing clarified that excluding an employee from
meetings, relocating his or her office, or other
2006a, p. 7). They offered some other steps for
employer consideration, including ensuring that
effective processes are in place for conducting
investigations quickly and ensuring that human
actions falling far short of firing could lead to liability
(Orey, 2007). We agree with Heard and Miller that
it is often appropriate to “discipline those that
resources, ethics, and other offices communicate
commit wrongdoing (with) feedback (provided) to
effectively (to avoid problems, e.g., under SOX)
the individual that reported the wrongdoing”
(Heard and Miller, 2006a, p. 7). Even if the
wrongdoing is stopped, if there are no negative
(Heard and Miller, 2006a).
Heard and Miller emphasized that, if a whistle-
blowing report, an anonymous survey, or other
assessment of employee perceptions reveals problems, it is important for organizations to rectify the
problems. Once a specific incident of wrongdoing
has occurred, it is not too late to realize benefits, if
consequences for the wrongdoer(s), employees may
believe that the response has not been sufficient.
Again, because of a dearth of controlled empirical
research specifically examining the effects of imple-
menting such recommendations, we cannot offer
communications from management to employees
citations in support of them. However, all seem
are open. After a specific incident has been reported
and wrongdoing remedied, companies can publish
reasonable, based on the research on how and why
whistle-blowing occurs and on the importance of
“scrubbed reports of actual cases to illustrate the
effectiveness in the process.
action taken by the organization to rectify problems
and punish wrongdoers” (Heard and Miller, 2006a,
p. 7). Providing feedback helps reinforce the right
behavior from employees and enables them to credit
management for doing the right thing. Implementing this recommendation would likely help coun-
Monitoring and following up
controlled research – to believe nothing could or
Implementing programs and actions intended to
encourage whistle-blowing is not sufficient; managers need to monitor the success of the programs
and make changes where needed. For example, in
would be done if wrongdoing were reported.
the case of sexual harassment, the Wall Street Journal
teract employees’ tendency – demonstrated in
Consistent with this advice, research suggests that
encouraging reporting and immediate correction
about which employees are informed may also have
desirable effects almost as good as those resulting
from preventing wrongdoing in the first place
(Miceli et al., 2001). These benefits go beyond
recommends that a thorough follow-up be conducted several months after the initial intervention
to ensure that retaliation does not occur (Lublin,
2006). Similarly, Heard and Miller recommend steps
for maintaining effective communication, e.g., by
reminding employees about the available channels
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(Heard and Miller, 2006a). Periodic republication
also reduces legal liability and is required under
importance of having sound evidence and following
certain federal laws.
should be informed by the relevant law (to enable
the whistle-blower to retain the maximum protection available) and the literature on distributive,
procedural, and interactional justice (e.g., Miceli and
Near, 1997). Unfortunately, because there is little
research on specific tactics and their relative effectiveness, we cannot be as specific here as we would
Although our focus to this point has been on
managers and organizations’ actions, two other
parties are important in the process: the prospective
or actual whistle-blower and policy-makers who
may be interested in encouraging valid whistleblowing. We turn now to the first of these parties.
good process (e.g., Devine, 1997). This process
like to be.
Advice to whistle-blowers and potential
Advice to policy-makers
We would argue that other people in the organization will be less likely to support whistle-blowers or
Turning our attention now to policy-makers, we
would note that legal scholars as well as managerial
to listen to them if the whistle-blowing is not
scholars have investigated whistle-blowing. Both
believed to be legally or morally justified. Therefore,
literatures can inform policy.
prospective whistle-blowers should consider whether the conditions associated with justification are
In some sense, it is remarkable that anyone ever
chooses to challenge organizational wrongdoing by
blowing the whistle, given the risks and costs, such
present. Prevailing legal arguments, both in US
(Miceli and Near, 1992) and British law (Callahan
et al., 2004; Vinten, 1994), suggest that “whistleblowing is warranted if the whistle-blower believes,
in good faith, that the wrongdoing has implications
for public policy; that is, some portion of society is
endangered by the organization’s actions” (Near and
Miceli, 1996, p. 508). Further, ethicists have indicated that one condition necessary for the justification of whistle-blowing is that “the whistle-blower
has acted after a careful analysis of the danger: (a)
how serious is the moral violation; (b) how immediate is the moral violation; (c) is the moral violation
one that can be specified?” (Bowie, 1982, p. 143).
These perspectives highlight the importance of
as the perception on the part of many managers that
few cases have merit, and the limited direct rewards
for whistle-blowing. Research suggests that legal
changes focused on encouraging organizations to
change the wrongdoing, and punishing organiza-
tions that ignore whistle-blowers, would have
greater impact than current policy, which seems to
emphasize protection of whistle-blowers from specific and serious retaliation, and has not proven very
effective (Miceli and Near, 2006).
Effects of SOX on corporate actions
the accuracy of the potential whistle-blower’s
Research on corporate response to legal changes
observation of the facts surrounding the wrongdoing
showed few corporate changes in policy or practice,
(Near and Miceli, 1996). They also imply that two
other factors should be considered by prospective
whistle-blowers: the nature of the wrongdoing and
resource executives from Fortune 1000 firms (Near
the fairness and appropriateness of the processes that
could be used. For example, a whistle-blower who
appears to be motivated to solve an important
problem will likely be viewed more favorably than
someone who seems bent on embarrassing a perceived wrongdoer or on interfering with legitimate
work processes (Miceli and Near, 1997).
Therefore, it is not surprising that many experts
who work with whistle-blowers emphasize the
at least early on. A 1990s era survey of human
and Dworkin, 1998) asked whether their firms
changed their whistle-blowing policies in response
to new state statutes (Dworkin et al., 1995; Near and
Dworkin, 1998). The authors expected that firms
might have created internal channels for whistleblowing in response to the new legislation, but very
few firms indicated that they had created such policies in responses to legal changes. For most, this
meant reliance on an open-door policy as their
primary mechanism for internal whistle-blowing.
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Unfortunately, most employees do not see opendoor policies as effective or protective, and they
have not been used successfully to encourage internal reporting of wrongdoing (Keenan, 1990).
These studies, of course, predated passage of
SOX. One legal scholar, Richard Moberly, recently
described how pre-SOX legislative attempts
designed to encourage whistle-blowing fit what he
termed the “antiretaliation model,” and were largely
unsuccessful because the laws focused only on dis-
Other legal influences on organizational actions
Laws that require whistle-blowing procedures and
encourage whistle-blowing should also have the
effect of making whistle-blowing more acceptable
and positive in the public eye. When employees and
private citizens demand less corruption and wrongdoing, private employers have changed their policies
to discourage wrongdoing. For example, in 2000, a
survey by the Ethics Resource Center found that
couraging retaliation against whistle-blowers and not
79% of employers have a written ethics standard, up
on encouraging whistle-blowing behavior (Moberly,
2006). He argued instead for the “structural model,”
exemplified by SOX. The structural model provides
incentives for whistle-blowers by showing them
clearly that whistle-blowing is not disloyal to the
from 60% in 1994 (Grimsley, 2000). We believe that
firm but supports it. It also provides clear, safe, and
employers will be more likely to take such actions in
the future, because of pressures from individual
employees who are increasingly responding to legislative changes aimed directly at potential whistleblowers (Dwyer et al., 2002).
effective channels for whistle-blowing by providing
The literature on sexual harassment law provides a
that the complaint recipient should be an indepen-
attempts in both the antiretaliation model and the
structural model were unsuccessful, because they
model for improving whistle-blowing law and corporate actions (e.g., Dwyer et al., 2002). Over the
past 20-25 years, US Supreme Court decisions have
provided more incentives to employers to discourage sexual harassment and penalties when they do
not follow through, and many employers have initiated or tightened policies and sanctions and pro-
were not implemented properly. Moberly was
vided training (the latter also required by many state
optimistic that success could be attained if the legislative models prohibit retaliation against whistle-
statutes). Survey results have indicated that there is
dent member of the Audit Committee of the Board
of Directors (among other designated recipients).
As Moberly noted, prior to the most recent wave
of scandals in the late 1990s, several legislative
blowers, provide sufficient incentive to persuade
whistle-blowers that coming forward is in the best
interests of society and the firm, and encourage the
creation of effective channels for reporting the
wrongdoing, anonymously or otherwise, to safe
complaint recipients outside the chain of command
in the firm and at the top of the firm (e.g., the Audit
Committee of the Board of Directors).
much greater awareness and disapproval of sexual
harassment in varying forms than previously (e.g.,
Erdreich et al., 1995). Thus, one ultimate effect of
oversight of employers seems to be that employees
show greater awareness of wrongdoing and their
legal rights in the workplace.
Laws applied to federal agencies have gone even
further in sanctioning sexual harassment. In fact, a
new law requires them to pay for settlements and
Unfortunately, preliminary evidence on the effec-
judgments against them in discrimination and
tiveness of SOX has not supported Moberly’s
whistle-blower cases, out of their agency budgets,
and thus “will hit agencies in their pocketbooks”
(Barr, 2002, p. B2). Further, agencies are required to
file reports with Congress and the attorney general
optimism (Dworkin, 2007). Instead, the whistleblowing legal cases related to SOX have produced
few victories for the whistle-blowers. It is perhaps
too early to draw conclusions, but whether SOX
on data such as the number of complaints filed
will have a supportive effect on the incidence of
whistle-blowing and on termination of organizational wrongdoing may well depend on how well it
is implemented. Ultimately, SOX may need to be
against them by employees, the disposition of these
cases, the total monetary awards charged against the
revised in order to provide stronger support to
whistle-blowers, if it is to have any tangible effect on
wrongdoing in organizations.
agency, and the number of agency employees disciplined for wrongdoing involving discrimination or
harassment (Barr, 2002).
Other legal changes have aimed to reduce fraud
against the federal government. There are potential
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financial incentives for citizens who save the federal
likely they are to know what is and isn’t working at
government money by informing it of fraud by
contractors or other activity (e.g., Zingales, 2004).
their companies. Many are surrounded by yes people
who filter information; others dismiss or ignore
The False Claims Act, dating to the Civil War,
bearers of bad news” (Hymowitz, 2007, p. Bl).
allows whistle-blowers to collect up to 30% of the
Whistle-blowers can help break through the com-
damages (Callahan and Dworkin, 1992; Seagull,
1995). The information they provide must be
useful and new (i.e., not effectively revealed by
munication barriers and provide the information that
others) and lead to a conviction, in order for the
whistle-blower to claim a reward. In 1986, the
False Claims Act was revised, such that whistle-
blowers were more likely to receive a reward
(Callahan and Dworkin, 1992). Prior to 1986,
about six false claims for government funds had
been reported per year by whistle-blowers. Since
1986, the number has jumped substantially, with
more than 3,000 qui tant cases filed by 2004
(Phillips and Cohen, 2004). False Claims Act
recoveries have exceeded $17 billion, with nearly
$1 billion recovered in the first quarter of 2006
(Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund, 2006),
and it has produced awards as high as $77 million
(Haddad and Barrett, 2002). States with similar false
claims laws have had similar results (e.g., State of
Florida, 2005; State of Illinois, 2004).
If some potential whistle-blowers are motivated
to act by financial rewards, then private employers
may be more likely to protect themselves – as well as
to help other members of society – by changing their
policies and procedures to prevent wrongdoing in
the first place and to terminate it when informed by
their employees that wrongdoing is ongoing. It will
be interesting to see whether the legal environment
eventually will have an important impact on
encouraging employees who observe wrongdoing to
blow the whistle, but at this point the evidence
seems mixed.
executives need. With increasing international
interest in encouraging whistle-blowing as a means
of combating global corruption and corporate misconduct (Ethics*Point, 2005), managers can utilize
what is known about whistle-blowing to create
positive conditions.
Throughout this article, we have attempted to
provide concrete suggestions to executives and other
parties involved in the whistle-blowing process.
Unfortunately research has not developed to the
point where we can offer specific, unequivocal
evidence in support of all of our recommendations.
However, we do believe that our suggestions are
consistent with what has been done to date. We
hope that this article will be useful to those interested
in improving the whistle-blowing process, whether
they be managers, potential whistle-blowers or legislators/policy-makers .
We thank the associate editor and anonymous reviewers,
for their helpful suggestions, and Professor Douglas
McCabe, for sharing articles and comments with us. Support for this work was provided in part by the Coleman
Chair in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana Uni-
versity, and by the Dean’s Leadership Fund of the
McDonough School of Business, and Mr. Carlos M. de la
Cruz, for the de la Cruz Family Fellowship at Georgetown University. This article is based in part on material
appearing in Miceli, Near and Dworkin, Whistle-blow-
ing in Organizations (2008). In J. Walsh and A. P. Brief
(eds.) Series in Orgnizational and Management (Psychol-
A Wall Street Journal columnist recently observed,
thank Psychology Press/Taylor & Francis Group for their
permission to use this material.
ogy Press/Taylor & Francis Group, New York). We
“executives know success in business depends on
identifying and fixing problems before they become
crises. It is the most basic rule in management: No
matter how smart your strategies seem on paper, if
you don’t know how they’re being executed and
whether there are urgent problems, you won’t be
successful. The higher executives climb, the less
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