Whistle-Blowing: Individual and Organizational Determinants of the Decision to Report Wrongdoing in the Federal Government

Source: Cecilia Florencia Lavena, American Review of Public Administration, Published online before print: June 26, 2014
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From the abstract:
The act of blowing the whistle on wrongdoing poses an ethical dilemma to the individual, the organization, and society. To help identify the key individual and organizational determinants that encourage or prohibit whistle-blowing in the U.S. federal government, this article presents a logistic regression analysis of survey data collected by the Merit Systems Protection Board, covering 36,926 federal employees from 24 agencies. Findings suggest that, although whistle-blowing is a rare event within most federal agencies, its likelihood is positively associated with norm-based and affective work motives, but negatively associated with several key indicators of organizational culture, including perceptions of respect and openness, cooperativeness and flexibility in the work setting, and fair treatment and trust in supervisors. This indicates intrinsic individual motives, together with organizational culture and leadership, should be taken into account when developing and sustaining policies to promote ethical behavior and responsible public service in the federal government.