Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 98, Issue 3, pp 513–530

From Inaction to External Whistleblowing: The Influence of the Ethical Culture of Organizations on Employee Responses to Observed Wrongdoing


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-010-0591-1

Cite this article as:
Kaptein, M. J Bus Ethics (2011) 98: 513. doi:10.1007/s10551-010-0591-1


Putting measures in place to prevent wrongdoing in organizations is important, but detecting and correcting wrongdoing are also vital. Employees who detect wrongdoing should, therefore, be encouraged to respond in a manner that supports corrective action. This article examines the influence of the ethical culture of organizations on employee responses to observed wrongdoing. Different dimensions of ethical culture are related to different types of intended responses. The findings show that several dimensions of ethical culture were negatively related to intended inaction and external whistleblowing and positively related to intended confrontation, reporting to management, and calling an ethics hotline.

Key words

wrongdoingethical culturereportingethics hotlinewhistleblowing

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RSMErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands