SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.34 número3Predicting work performance through selection interview ratings and psychological assessmentWerkstresverskille tussen wit en swart middelvlakbestuurspersoneel índice de autoresíndice de assuntospesquisa de artigos
Home Pagelista alfabética de periódicos  

Serviços Personalizados



Links relacionados

  • Em processo de indexaçãoCitado por Google
  • Em processo de indexaçãoSimilares em Google


SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

versão On-line ISSN 2071-0763
versão impressa ISSN 0258-5200

SA j. ind. Psychol. vol.34 no.3 Johannesburg  2008




Sounds of silence: Organisational trust and decisions to blow the whistle



Elli Binikos

Department of Sociology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa





Whistleblowing is a form of pro-social behaviour that occurs when an employee reports organisational wrongdoing to an authority able to implement corrective action. While a number of social factors may influence an employee's decision to blow the whistle, very little cognisance is given to the role of organisational trust. Since whistleblowing situations often pose problems for whistleblowers, organisational trust becomes an important facilitator for the decision to blow the whistle. Drawing on a case study, this paper shows that when trust exists, employees are more likely to blow the whistle and to do so internally rather than externally.

Keywords: whistleblowing, public disclosure, victimisation, hostility, decision-making, trust



“Full text available only in PDF format”




Adams, C.A. (2002). Internal organisational factors influencing corporate social and ethical reporting: Beyond current theorising. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 15(2), 223-250.         [ Links ]

Barnett, T. (1992). A preliminary investigation of the relationship between selected organisational characteristics and external whistleblowing by employees. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(12), 949-959.         [ Links ]

Bews, N.F. (1999). A sociological analysis of the concepts 'post-industrial' and 'post-modern' and their effect on the notion of employer-employee trust. Unpublished masters dissertation, Johannesburg: Rand Afrikaans University.         [ Links ]

Bews, N.F. (2000). An investigation into the facilitators of the trustworthiness of managers. Unpublished PhD thesis, Johannesburg: Rand Afrikaans University.         [ Links ]

Calland, R. & Dehn, G. (2004). (Eds.) Whistleblowing around the world: Law, culture and practice. Cape Town: ODAC. PCaW.         [ Links ]

Camerer, L. (1996). Ethics and the professions: Blowing the whistle on crime. African Quarterly Review, 5(6), 48-54.         [ Links ]

Camerer, L. (2001). Protecting whistleblowers in South Africa: The Protected Disclosures Act, no 26 of 2000, Occasional Paper No 47. Retrieved June 29, 2004, from the World Wide Web:        [ Links ]

Claybrook, C. (2004). Viewing organisational trust and internal auditing. Paper presented to the Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation, Dallas, U.S.A.         [ Links ]

Davis, M. (1989). Avoiding the tragedy of whistleblowing. Business & Professional Ethics Journal, 8(4), 3-19.         [ Links ]

Dehn, G. (2001). Whistleblowing: A new perspective. Public concern at work. Retrieved June 29, 2004, from the World Wide Web:        [ Links ]

Delahaye Paine, K. (2003). Guidelines for measuring trust in organisations. Institute for Public Relations. Retrieved August 7, 2005, from the World Wide Web:        [ Links ]

Gillis, T. (2003). More than a social virtue: public trust among organisations' most valuable assets. Communication World, April-May.         [ Links ]

Greenberg, J. & Baron, R.A. (2003). Behaviour in Organizations. Eighth edition. Prentice Hall: New Jersey.         [ Links ]

Gundlach, M.J., Douglas, S.C. & Martinko, M.J. (2003). The decision to blow the whistle: A social information processing framework. Academy of Management Review, 28(1), 107-123.         [ Links ]

Heacock, M.V. & McGee, G. (1987). Whistleblowing: An Ethical Issue in Organizational and Human Behavior. Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 6(4), 35-46.         [ Links ]

Husted, B.W. (1998). The ethical limits of trust in business relations. Business Ethics Quarterly, 8(2), 233-248.         [ Links ]

Johnson, R.A. (2003). Whistleblowing: when it works and why. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers London.         [ Links ]

Johnson, C.B. & Wright, C.J. (2004). Make it easy they will come. The Internal Auditor, 61(1), p. 69.         [ Links ]

Jos, P.H., Tompkins, M.E. & Hays, S.W. (1989). In praise of difficult people. Public Administration Review, November/ December, 552-561.         [ Links ]

King, G. III. (1999). The implications of an organisation's structure on whistleblowing. Journal of Business Ethics, 20, 315-326.         [ Links ]

Lewicki, R.J. & Bunker, B.B. (1996). Developing and maintaining trust in work relationships. In Kramer, R.M. & Tyler, T.R. (Eds.). Trust in organisations: Frontiers of theory and research. Thousand Oaks, Sage: California.         [ Links ]

Miceli, M. & Near, J.P. (1992). Blowing the whistle: The organisational and legal implications for companies and employees. Lexington Books: New York.         [ Links ]

Miethe, T.D. 1999. Whistleblowing at Work: Tough Choices In Exposing Fraud, Waste, Abuse On The Job. Westview Press: Colorado.         [ Links ]

Milliken, F.J., Morrison, E.W. & Hewlin, P.F. (2003). An exploratory study of employee silence. Journal of Management Studies, 40(6), 1453-1476.         [ Links ]

Mishra, A.K. (1996). Organisational responses to crisis. The centrality of trust. In Kramer, R.M. & Tyler, T.R. (Eds.). Trust in organisations: Frontiers of theory and research. Thousand Oaks, Sage: California.         [ Links ]

Morehead Dworkin, T.M & Baucus, M. (1998). Internal vs. external whistleblowers: A comparison of whistleblowing processes. Journal of Business Ethics, 17, 1281-1298.         [ Links ]

PriceWaterhouseCoopers. (2005). PriceWaterhouseCoopers global economic crime survey. Retrieved on December 01, 2005, from the World Wide Web:        [ Links ]

Rothschild, J. & Miethe, T.D. (1994). "Whistleblowing as resistance in modern work organizations: the politics of revealing organizational deception and abuse" in Jermier, J.M., Knights, D., & Nord, W.R. 1994. Resistance and Power in Organizations. Routledge: London.         [ Links ]

Shockley-Zalabak, P., Ellis, K., & Cesaria, R. (2003). More than a social virtue: Public trust among organisations' most valuable assets. Communication World, (20) Apr/May, 10-11.         [ Links ]

Sztompka, P. (1999). Trust: A sociological theory. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.         [ Links ]

Trevino, L.K. & Bart, V. (1999). Peer reporting of unethical behaviour: Social context perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 35(1), 38-65.         [ Links ]

Uys, T. (2000a). Hero or traitor? The professional person as whistleblower. Paper presented at IRR Conference, Durban, South Africa.         [ Links ]

Uys, T. (2000b). The Politicisation of whistleblowers: a case study. Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 9(4), 259-287.         [ Links ]

Uys, T. (2005). Betrayal, loyalty and trust. Paper presented at the 37th World Congress of the International Institute of Sociology, Stockholm, Sweden.         [ Links ]

Uys, T. & Senekal, A. (2005). Morality of principle versus morality of loyalty: The case of whistleblowing. Paper presented at the 5th Annual Conference of Ben-Africa, Kasane, Botswana.         [ Links ]



Elli Binikos

Creative Commons License Todo o conteúdo deste periódico, exceto onde está identificado, está licenciado sob uma Licença Creative Commons