Reasons of Whistleblowing

Both the personal factors of the whistleblower and the characteristics of the organization as well as the situational factors created by the existing external organization are effective in initiating the process of whistleblowing in organizations.

Individual Reasons

A person’s own moral values are first included in personal reasons. The cultural norms of the individual also affect whistleblowing to a great extent. For example, employees from many Asian cultures including Japan, China and Taiwan perform less whistleblowing Opens in new window than those from the United States.

This cultural difference is usually related to the degree of collectivism of a culture or of interdependence of individuals between their groups, and to the more negative view of the more collectivist groups about whistleblowing.

Loyalty, which is much more dominant in collectivist cultures than individualist cultures, increases the behavior not to notice unethical actions and decreases whistleblowing (Dungn, Adam, & Liane et al., 2015:131). In addition, individuals with a higher sense of social responsibility are more likely to perform the act of whistleblowing. Gender is also another important factor affecting whistleblowing.

Miceli, Dozier, & Near’s study (1987) has demonstrated that women are less likely to choose the act of whistleblowing when they are confronted with an ethical dilemma. According to the literature, whistleblower Opens in new window is usually male and married, and has high business performance.

Employees with high level of education and working in the senior management in the organization are seen to be whistleblowers. Also, those who have worked in the organization for many years and so, become older than the others are known to be more active in whistleblowing Opens in new window (Fettahlioglu and Demir, 2014).

Organization Reasons

Organizational reasons include high commitment to the organization, dominance of corporate culture and progress in corporate citizenship behavior of employees (Aktan, 2006:3).

Hassink, Vries and Bolle (2007:29-30) have pointed out that organizational reasons, including organizational commitment Opens in new window and organizational loyalty, positively affect the act of whistleblowing Opens in new window. However, Yener (2018:232) has emphasized that the low level of organizational commitment of the employee increases the likelihood of whistleblowing. Moreover, the employee’s perception of justice influences her/his attention to perform the act of whistleblowing, and a sense of trust in the manager and the organization also mediates this intention (Yurur, 2016:125).

Koyluoglu, Beduk, Duman, and Buyukbayraktar’s study (2015:544) found a significantly positive relationship between corporate silence and whistleblowing. Alper and Cetin (2018:31) have stated that the leadership styles in the organization have an effect on whistlebowing and especially, it is a positive effect in interactional and transformational leadership.

Situational Reasons

Situational reasons also occur due to instant events or actions such as inter-employee conflicts, jealousy, envy, and some of them are caused by personal problems (Aktan, 2006:3).

Malpractices such as violations of human rights, tax evasion, the existence of illegal workers, unethical and illegal behaviors and events in the organization, harassment, violence and violations of partners’ rights can lead to whistleblowing (Ozdemir, 2015:13; Aktan, 2006:2).

In addition, the act of whistleblowing Opens in new window is increased with the laws and policies that a country enact and execute for promoting the act of whistleblowing and protecting whistleblowers (Ergun Ozler et al., 2010:175).

  1. Aydin, ?ule, Dedeoglu, Bekir Bora, oban, mer, Organizational Behavior Challenges in the Tourism Industry
  2. Dasgupta, S., & Kesharwani, A. (2010). Whistleblowing: A survey of literature. The IUP Journal of Corporate Governance, 8 (4), 57-68.
  3. The psychology of whistleblowing. Current Opinion in Psychology, 6, 129-133. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.07.005.
  4. Dworkin, T.M. & Baucus, M. S. (1998). Internal vs. External Whistleblowers: A comparison of whistleblowering processes. Journal of Business Ethics, 17 (12), 1281-1298. doi:10.1023/A:1005916210589.
  5. Elliston, F. A. (1982a). Civil disobedience and whistleblowing: A comparative appraisal of two forms of dissent. Journal of Business Ethics,1 (1),23-28. doi:10.1007/BF00382803.
  6. Hamid, M. H., & Zainudin, N. (2015). Whistleblowing: An organizational support perspective. International Journal of Management Research & Review, 5(7), 479-487.
  7. Hassink, H. Vries, M., & Bollen, L. (2007). A content analysis of whistleblowing policies of leading European companies. Journal of Business Ethics, 75 (1), 25-44.
  8. Hersh, M. A. (2002). Whistleblowers-heroes or traitors?: Individual and collective responsibility for ethical behavior. Annual Reviews in Control, 26 (2), 243-262.