Whistleblowing Intentions Among Public Accountants in Indonesia: Testing for the Moderation Effects

Abstract

Our study contributes by providing new insights into the relationship between the individual levels of the antecedents and how the intention of whistleblowing is moderated by perceived organizational support (POS), team norms (TNs), and perceived moral intensity (PMI). In this paper, we argue that the intention of both internal and external whistleblowing depends on the individual-level antecedents [attitudes toward whistleblowing, perceived behavioral control, independence commitment, personal responsibility for reporting, and personal cost of reporting (PCR)] and is moderated by POS, TNs, and PMI. The findings confirm our predictions. Data were collected using an online survey on 256 Indonesian public accountants who worked in the audit firm affiliated with the Big 4 and non-Big 4. The results support the argument that all the antecedents of individual levels can improve the auditors’ intention to blow the whistle (internally and externally). The nature of the relationship is more complex than analysis by adding moderating variables using the Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modeling approach. We found that POS, TNs, and PMI can partially improve the relationship between the individual-level antecedents and whistleblowing intentions. These findings indicate that the POS, TNs, and PMI are a mechanism or that attribute is important in controlling behavior.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Whistleblowing is “the disclosure by organization members (former or current) of illegal, immoral, or illegitimate practices under the control of their employers, to persons or organizations that may be able to affect action” (Near and Miceli 1985, p. 4).

  2. 2.

    Alleyne et al. (2016) examined the influence of individual-level antecedents to the intention of whistleblowing using only POS as a moderating variable. But they ignore the other moderating variables such as TNs and PMI.

  3. 3.

    See Vandekerckhove (2006) for a description of the whistleblowing system in some other countries such as the US, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., South Africa, Japan, Belgium, and Germany.

  4. 4.

    The expectation theory by Vroom (1964) assumes that every individual believes that when he behaves in a certain way, he will obtain certain result called an expectation result (outcome expectancy). Each result has a value or an appeal to a particular person.

  5. 5.

    Audit firms (Big 4) are affiliated in Indonesia, including, among others, PriceWaterhouseCoopers with KAP Tanudiredja, Wibisana, Rintis & Rekan; Deloitte with KAP Osman Bing Satrio; Ernst and Young with KAP Purwantono, Sungkoro & Surja; and KPMG with KAP Sidharta and Widjaja.

  6. 6.

    The number of registered auditors certified as CPA in IAPI until June 2016 was 1628, while the number of registered audit firms was 525 (plus branches).

  7. 7.

    We compared 10 samples beginning with 10 samples at the end to obtain more precise results. Most of the studies generally compare the overall sample before and after the cut-off. Differences in the distance are too close and may lead to biased analysis.

  8. 8.

    Although this study uses a component-based approach (PLS-SEM), the adequacy of the sample size remains a concern for researchers.

  9. 9.

    The original copy of the questionnaire is available from the author.

  10. 10.

    The use of scenarios is more effective to give stimuli to the auditor in making ethical decisions when faced with certain situations.

  11. 11.

    When researchers do not know the data from the population common factor or composites, the use of PLS-SEM is a safer option (see Sarstedt et al. 2016).

  12. 12.

    See Henseler et al. (2017) to update the guidelines for the evaluation criteria of measurement and structural models in PLS-SEM.

  13. 13.

    The CB-SEM approach will have problems when estimating models that are very complex. In contrast, the traditional regression approach has many limitations such that it cannot test the model simultaneously and based on the total score of the variable.

  14. 14.

    Evaluation of the measurement model includes the assessment of the loading factor, average variance extracted (AVE), rho_A, and HTMT assessment as a discriminant validity assessment, which is more superior to the Fornell–Larcker criterion.

  15. 15.

    We tested the hypothesis using the one-tailed test rather than the two-tailed. Testing the hypothesis using one-tailed test is more appropriate when the hypothesis direction is clear so as to minimize the type II error.

  16. 16.

    Besides the orthogonalization approach, there are also a product indicator and a two-stage approach to test the interaction effects.

  17. 17.

    It aims to reduce the complexity of the model and multicollinearity problems that may arise. This is also in line with the proposition put forward by Alleyne et al. (2013).

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This article uses the statistical software SmartPLS 3 (http://www.smartpls.com). Ringle acknowledges a financial interest in SmartPLS.

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Latan, H., Ringle, C.M. & Jabbour, C.J.C. Whistleblowing Intentions Among Public Accountants in Indonesia: Testing for the Moderation Effects. J Bus Ethics 152, 573–588 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3318-0

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Keywords

  • Whistleblowing
  • Audit firms
  • Individual-level antecedents
  • Perceived organizational support
  • Team norms
  • Perceived moral intensity