An Examination of the Layers of Workplace Influences in Ethical Judgments: Whistleblowing Likelihood and Perseverance in Public Accounting

Journal of Business Ethics 93 (1):21-37 (2010)
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Abstract

We employ a Layers of Workplace Influence theory to guide our study of whistleblowing among public accounting audit seniors. Specifically, we examine professional commitment, organizational commitment versus colleague commitment (locus of commitment), and moral intensity of the unethical behavior on two measures of reporting intentions: likelihood of reporting and perseverance in reporting. We find that moral intensity relates to both reporting intention measures. In addition, while high levels of professional identity increase the likelihood that an auditor will initially report an observed violation, the auditor's commitment to the organization drives perseverance in reporting. Results may assist organizations and researchers in their understanding of antecedents to whistleblowing as a form of corporate governance and of the effect of these antecedents on whistleblowing perseverance

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