Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952651 | Print ISBN: 9781412924702 | Online ISBN: 9781412952651| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Jessica R. Mesmer-Magnus & Chockalingam Viswesvaran
Whistle-blowing occurs when a member of an organization reports practices, under control of the organization, that are perceived to be illegal, immoral, or in some way illegitimate. Whistle-blower reports of organizational wrongdoing are increasingly making news headlines (e.g., fraud, corruption, and other unethical acts in organizations like Enron, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen, and Tyco). Such reports are more frequently made by members of the accused organization such as employees, board members, or internal auditors, rather than by external auditing agencies. These individuals, referred to as whistle-blowers, risk retaliation both by their organization (via job loss, demotion, or harassment) and sometimes even by the public (character assassinations, accusations of being spies or squealers ) in their efforts to expose perceived transgressions. Although whistle-blowers typically have access to both internal (supervisor, internal affairs investigator, human resources director) and external (external auditing agency, news media, lawyer) channels by which to report an organizational transgression, ...