Examining Whistleblowing Intention: The Influence of Rationalization on Wrongdoing and Threat of Retaliation

Jawad Khan, Imran Saeed, Muhammad Zada, Amna Ali, Nicolás Contreras‐barraza, Guido Salazar‐sepúlveda, Alejandro Vega‐muñoz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing often face several concerns, pressures, and threats of retaliation before reaching a final decision. Specifically, this study examines the effects of perceived seriousness of wrongdoing (PSW) and perceived threat of retaliation (PTR), as well as the impact of rationalization (RNL), comparing perceived seriousness of wrongdoing, perceived threat of retaliation and whistleblowing intention. Furthermore, this study aims to determine the mediating effect of anticipated regret (AR) on the relationship between perceived seriousness of wrongdoing and whistleblowing intention. We validated our model by analyzing data gathered across three stages from employees in the telecom sector in Pakistan. The key findings of our research may be summarized as follows: (i) individuals’ willingness to ‘blow the whistle’ increases as a result of perceived seriousness of wrongdoing; (ii) whistleblowers are more likely to opt to remain silent if they anticipate a greater threat of retaliation, and (iii) our study establishes a positive connection between perceived seriousness of wrongdoing and whistleblowing intention, indicating that perceived seriousness of wrongdoing enhances people’s willingness to blow the whistle, and whistle-blowers are more likely to choose to emerge if the behaviour is more serious in nature.; (iv) the data we have uncovered indicates a moderating role of rationalization in regulating the connections between perceived seriousness of wrongdoing, perceived threat of retaliation, and whistleblowing intention; and (v) the findings demonstrate that anticipated regret mediates the connection between perceived seriousness of wrongdoing and the intention to report wrongdoing. Additionally, the results are discussed in terms of their significance for corporate ethics researchers and managers, as well as for end‐users who are interested in whistleblowing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1752
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Anticipated regret
  • Perceived seriousness of wrongdoing
  • Perceived threat of retaliation
  • Rationalization
  • Whistleblowing intentions
  • Workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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