Blowing the Whistle: Individual Persuasion under Perceived Threat of Retaliation

  • Randall F. Young
  • Behavioral Research in Accounting, September 2017, American Accounting Association
  • DOI: 10.2308/bria-51729

Using persuasive communication to change employees' attitudes toward whistle-blowing

What is it about?

Experiment was conducted to see if organizations can use persuasive communications to change employees' attitudes toward whistle-blowing even when employees are facing the possibility of retaliation.

Why is it important?

This study finds that persuasive communications can improve the employee's attitude toward whistle-blowing. This study also finds that the change in attitude is larger when the employee is facing a higher threat of retaliation from other employees or management. This is important because some organizations have a culture that is not favorable to whistle-blowers, which reduces the likelihood an employee will blow the whistle. However, even in an organization with an existing culture that is not supporting of whistle-blowing, the use of positive persuasive messages can be useful for changing the employee's attitude toward whistle-blowing so that he/she is more likely to blow the whistle.

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