Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 11, Issue 12, pp 949–959 | Cite as

A preliminary investigation of the relationship between selected organizational characteristics and external whistleblowing by employees

  • Tim Barnett


Whistleblowing by employees to regulatory agencies and other parties external to the organization can have serious consequences both for the whistleblower and the company involved. Research has largely focused on individual and group variables that affect individuals' decision to blow the whistle on perceived wrongdoing.

This study examined the relationship between selected organizational characteristics and the perceived level of external whistleblowing by employees in 240 organizations. Data collected in a nationwide survey of human resource executives were analyzed using analysis of variance.

Results indicated that executives of larger organizations perceived a higher level of employee-voiced concerns to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as a higher overall level of external whistleblowing. Executives of organizations with union employees perceived a higher level of employee-voiced concerns to the EEOC, the media, and a higher overall level of external whistleblowing. Executives of organizations in the manufacturing industry group perceived a higher level of employee-voiced concerns to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The implications of these findings are discussed, and limitations of the research are addressed. The paper concludes with several suggestions for continued research.


Economic Growth Human Resource Regulatory Agency Employment Opportunity Preliminary Investigation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim Barnett
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Administration and BusinessLouisiana Tech UniversityT.S. RustonUSA

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