Whistle-blowing occurs when a member of an organization reports practices, under control of the organization, that are perceived to be illegal, immoral, or in some way illegitimate. Whistle-blower reports of organizational wrongdoing are increasingly making news headlines (e.g., fraud, corruption, and other unethical acts in organizations like Enron, WorldCom, Andersen, and Tyco). Such reports are more frequently made by members of the accused organization (e.g., employees, board members, or internal auditors) than by external auditing agencies. These individuals, referred to as whistle-blowers, risk retaliation by their organization (e.g., via job loss, demotion, or harassment) and sometimes even by the public (e.g., character assassinations or accusations of being “sour grapes,” spies, or “squealers”) in their efforts to expose perceived transgressions.

While whistle-blowers typically have access to both ...

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