3 Factors Affect The Decision of Being a Whistleblower

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There has been a lot of debate among the researchers and no general consensus on what motivates an individual to blow the whistle. However, at least a result of a study entitled The Whistleblower’s Dilemma and The Fairness-loyalty Tradeoff reveals that fairness and loyalty are basic human values that come into conflict when it comes to a person’s decision to become a whistleblower.

In line with the study, another study entitled The Psychology of Whistleblowing states that a person’s decision to become a whistleblower depends on the fairness-loyalty tradeoff. When the fairness increases in value than loyalty does, the individual is likely to becom a whistleblower and vice versa.

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Related to fairness-loyalty tradeoff, there are three factors that influence an individual’s decision of being a whistleblower. Knowing these factors might help your company shaping the anti-fraud policy.


1. Personal factor

Related to the idea that loyalty for norms inhibits whistleblowing, the researches investigating personal factors that influence intention to be a whistleblower. One of them is locus of control – An individual’s view of the relationship between actions and outcomes.

An individual who feels internal locus of control more dominant than the external is likely becoming whistleblowers. This is because the individual believes that every outcome obtained depends on the effort given. This is which the value of fairness dominates the loyalty in the individual. Once the individual decides to become a whistleblower, he/she is driven by a sense of responsibility and desire to control his surroundings.


2. Situational factor

A person’s decision to become a whistleblower is strongly influenced by company support. If the company shows support – build awareness of the dangers of fraud and the importance of whistleblowing, spread knowledge about fraud, and protect whistleblowers, it is facilitating the intention of individuals to become whistleblowers. We can see that the company’s support is an appreciation for fairness.


3. Cultural factor

Individuals from Asian cultures, including Japan, China, and Taiwan, tend to view whistleblowing as something that is less favorable than individuals from America. This cultural difference is related to the degree of collectivism. The Asians tend to have a higher degree of collectivism than Americans. The greater the degree of collectivism, the more loyalty increases, the more negative the individual’s expression towards the whistleblowing so it is not likely he/she to become a whistleblower.



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