Why I don’t Blow the Whistle? Perceived Barriers by the University Teachers to Report Wrong Doings





Whistle Blowing, Organizational Barriers, Psychological Factors, Organizational Environment, Job threats, Reporting Mechanism


Whistle blowing is a term used to report the unethical act of colleagues and wrongdoings within the organization. Bringing attention towards the misconducts and organization’s effective response accordingly improves the productivity and quality of services. However, this generates the potential threats of organizational and interpersonal conflicts for the whistle-blower thus leads often failure in reporting by the personals or employees. This study explores the perceived barriers by the university teachers, which may hinder the process of reporting wrongdoings. Social constructionism qualitative research design is used. At first phase, face-to-face interviews of six faculty members and narrative research design has been used. At second phase, three focused group discussion sessions with total 24 participants, were carried out in three public sector universities of Punjab, purposively selected. Analysis shows that the people hesitate to blow the whistle due to psychological, social, and organizational barriers, like, fear of joblessness, security threats, lack of supportive organizational polices, lack of adequate mechanism for blowing the whistle, the personal waded interest of the personals. However, this procedure can be enhanced by addressing the issue well in time, adequate security measures, ensured job security for the whistle-blowers, and adoption of a well-developed reporting mechanism in the universities.


Metrics Loading ...


Ahmad, S., Smith, G. M., & Ismail, Z. (2012). Internal whistle-blowing intentions: a study of demographic and individual factors. Journal of Modern Accounting and Auditing, 8(11), 1632-1645. https://ro.ecu.edu.au/ecuworks2012/638/

Apadore, K., Chin, C. Y., Qi, M. D. C., Yan, T. M., Yu-Sinn, W. G., & Min, W. T. (2018). Factors affecting whistle blowing intention: an empirical study. South East Asia Journal of Contemporary Business, Economics and Law, 15(5), 104-114. https://seajbel.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/SEAJBEL15_233-1.pdf

Appelbaum, S., & Shapiro, B. (2006). Diagnosis and remedies for deviant workplace behaviours. Journal of American Academy of Business, 9(2), 14-20.

Bashir, S., Khattak, H. R., Hanif, A., & Chohan, S. N. (2011). Whistle-blowing in public sector organizations: evidence from Pakistan. The American Review of Public Administration, 41(3), 285-296. https://doi.org/10.1177/0275074010376818

Basri, S. A., Marsam, A. D., Nor, R. A. M., Abu, A., & Mohamed, N. (2017). Reinforcement tool of whistle blowing to eradicate fraud in public sector. SHS Web of Conferences, 36, 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1051/shsconf/20173600038

Berry, B. (2004). Organizational culture: a framework and strategies for facilitating employee whistleblowing. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 16(1), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:ERRJ.0000017516.40437.b1

Bjorkelo, B. (2013). Workplace bullying after whistleblowing: future research and implications. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 28(3), 306-323. https://phs.brage.unit.no/phs-xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/174696/workplace_bullying.pdf?sequence=1

Bouville, M. (2008). Whistle blowing and morality. Journal of Business Ethics, 81, 579-585. https://ssrn.com/abstract=2739085

Bovens, M. A. P. (1998). The quest for responsibility: accountability and citizenship in complex organisations / Mark Bovens. Cambridge University. https://www.loc.gov/catdir/toc/cam022/97010236.html

Caillier, G. J. (2013). Do employees feel comfortable blowing the whistle when their supervisors practice transformational leadership? International Journal of Public Administration, 36(14), 1020-1028. https://doi.org/ 10.1080/01900692.2013.798812

Callahan, E. S., & Collins, J. W. (1992). Employee attitudes toward whistleblowing: management and public policy implications. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(12), 939-948. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00871960

Cassematis, P., & Wortley, R. (2013). Prediction of whistleblowing or non-reporting observation: the role of personal and situational factors. Journal of Business Ethics, 117(3), 615-634. https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:117:y:2013:i:3:p:615-634

Chaudhary, N. S., & Gupta, K. P. (2019). A study of whistle-blowing intentions of teachers working in higher education sector. International Journal of Law and Management, 61(1), 106-132. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLMA-10-2017-0253

Chen, X. (2018). A summary of research on the influencing factors of employees’ willingness to whistle blowing. American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 8(7), 1732-1746. https://doi.org/10.4236/ajibm.2018.87116

Chiu, R. K. (2003). Ethical judgment and whistleblowing intention: examining the moderating role of locus of control. Journal of Business Ethics, 43(1), 65-74. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022911215204

Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2011). Designing and conducting mixed methods research (2nd ed.). Sage. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022911215204

Cuadrado, R., Alvarez Arce, J., Rodriguez-Tejedo, I., & Salvatierra, S. (2009). Ethics hotlines in transnational companies: a comparative study. Journal of Business Ethics, 88, 199-210. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-009-0110-4

Dalton, D., & Radtke, R. R. (2013). The joint effects of Machiavellianism and ethical environment on whistle blowing. Journal of Business Ethics, 117(1), 153-172. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-012-1517-x

Donkin, M., Smith, R., & Brown, A. J. (2008). How do officials report? internal and external whistle blowing. In A. J. Brown (Ed.), Whistleblowing in the Australian Public Sector (pp. 83-108). ANU. https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt24h7w1.11

Dungan, J., Waytz, A., & Young, L. (2015). The Psychology of whistleblowing. Current Opinion in Psychology, 6. 129-133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.07.005

Edwards, M. S., Ashkanasy, N. M., & Gardner, J. (2009). Deciding to speak up or to remain silent following observed wrongdoing: the role of discrete emotions and climate of silent. In J. Greenberg, M. S. Edwards, & C. T. Brinsfield (Eds.), Voice and Silence in Organizations (pp. 83-110), Emerald.

Fapohunda, T. (2016). Gender: precursor of whistle blowing intentions and reprisals. International Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Studies, 3(12), 19-27.

Feldman, Y., & Lobel, O. (2009). The incentives matrix: the comparative effectiveness of rewards, liabilities, duties and protections for reporting illegality. Texas Law Review, 88. 11-51. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1415663

Friesdorf, R., Conway, P., & Gawronski, B. (2015). Gender differences in responses to moral dilemmas: a process dissociation analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(5), 696-713. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167215575731

Gambrill, E. (2020). Avoidable ignorance and the politics and ethics of whistle blowing in mental health. Journal of Ethics in Mental Health, 11, 1-39. https://jemh.ca/issues/v9/documents/JEMH%20article%20WB%20Gambrill%20final.pdf

Gupta, K. P., & Chaudhary, N. S. (2017). Prioritizing the factors influencing whistle blowing intentions of teachers in higher education institutes in India. Procedia Computer Science, 122, 25-32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2017.11.337

Hassink, H., Vries, M. d., & Bollen, L. (2007). A content analysis of whistle blowing policies of leading European companies. Journal of Business Ethics, 75(1), 25-44. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-006-9236-9

Hennink, M. M. (2014). Focus group discussions. Oxford University.

Hobfoll, S. E. (1989). Conservation of resources: a new attempt at conceptualizing stress. American Psychologist, 44(3), 513-524. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.44.3.513

Jackson, D. (2008). Editorial: what becomes of the whistle-blowers? Journal of Clinical Nursing, 17(10), 1261-1262. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02326.x

Jubb, P. B. (1999). Whistleblowing: a restrictive definition and interpretation. Journal of Business Ethics, 21(1), 77-94. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005922701763

Kaplan, S., Pope, K. R., & Samuels, J. A. (2010). The effect of social confrontation on individuals’ intentions to internally report fraud. Behavioural Research in Accounting, 22(2), 51-67. https://doi.org/10.2308/bria.2010.22.2.51

Keenan, J. P. (2000). Blowing the whistle on less serious forms of fraud: a study of executives and managers. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 12(4), 199-217. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1013015926299

Kuncara, A. W., Furqorina, R., & Payamta, P. (2017). Determinants of internal whistleblowing intentions in public sector: evidence from Indonesia. In: 17th Annual Conference of the Asian Academic Accounting Association (2016 Four A Conference), 20-22 November 2016, Kuching, Sarawak. http://doi.org/10.1051/shsconf/20173401002.

Lee, G., & Fargher, N. (2017). The role of the audit committee in their oversight of whistle blowing. AUDITING: A Journal of Practice & Theory, 37(1), 167-189. https://doi.org/10.2308/ajpt-51769

Lindblom, L. (2007). Dissolving the moral dilemma of whistleblowing. Journal of Business Ethics, 76(4), 413-426. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-006-9291-2

Loyens, K. (2013). Why police officers and labour inspectors (do not) blow the whistle: a grid group cultural theory perspective. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, 36(1), 27-50. https://doi.org/10.1108/13639511311302461

Mesmer-Magnus, J. R., & Viswesvaran, C. (2005). Whistleblowing in organizations: an examination of correlates of whistleblowing intentions, actions, and retaliation. Journal of Business Ethics, 62(3), 277-297. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-005-0849-1

Miceli, M. P., & Near, J. P. (1992). Blowing the whistle: the organizational and legal implications for companies and employees issues in organization and management. Macmillan.

Near, J. P., & Miceli, M. P. (2008). Wrongdoing, whistle blowing, and retaliation in the U.S. government: what have researchers learned from the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) Survey results? Review of Public Personnel Administration, 28(3), 263-281. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734371x08319153

Near, J. P., Rehg, M. T., Scotter, J. R. V., & Miceli, M. P. (2004). Do types of wrongdoings affect whistleblowing process? Journal of Business Ethics, 14(2), 219-242. https://doi.org/10.5840/beq200414210

Near, J. P., & Miceli, M. P. (1996). Whistle blowing: myth and reality. Journal of Management, 22(3), 507-526. https://doi.org/10.1177/014920639602200306

Near, J., & Miceli, M. (1995). Effective whistle blowing. The Academy of Management Review, 20(3), 679-708. https://doi.org/10.2307/258791

Near, J. P., & Miceli, M. P. (1985). Organizational dissidence: the case of whistle blowing. Journal of Business Ethics, 4(1), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00382668

Onder, M. E., Akç?l, U., & Cemaloglu, N. (2019). The relationship between teachers’ organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and whistle blowing. Sustainability, 11, 1-22. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215995

Perks, S., & Smith, E. E. (2008). Employee perceptions regarding whistle blowing in the workplace: a South African perspective. SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 6(2), 768-789. https://doi.org/ 10.4102/sajhrm.v6i2.159

Pittroff, E. (2016). Whistle-blowing regulation in different corporate governance systems: an analysis of the regulation approaches from the view of path dependence theory. Journal of Management & Governance, 20(4), 703-727. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10997-015-9311-7

Putriana, A., Hariadi, B., & Prihatiningtias, Y. W. (2018). Factors affecting intention on whistleblowing: an analysis on moderated model of whistleblowing channel. Journal of State Financial Accountability & Accountability, 4(2), 125-145. https://doi.org.10.28986/jtaken.v4i2.218

Rehg, M., Miceli, M., Near, J., & Van Scotter, J. (2008). Antecedents and outcomes of retaliation against whistle-blowers: gender differences and power relationships. Organization Science, 19, 221-240. https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.1070.0310

Rocha, E., & Kleiner, B, H. (2005). To blow or not to blow the whistle? that is the question. Management Research News, 28(11/12), 80-87. https://doi.org/10.1108/01409170510785264

Rothschild, J., & Miethe, T. (1999). Whistle-blower disclosures and management retaliation: the battle to control information about organization corruption. Work and Occupations, 26, 107-128. https://doi.org/10.1177/0730888499026001006

Schmidt, W. (2015). Supply chain disruptions and the role of information asymmetry. Decision Sciences, 46(2), 465-475. https://doi.org/10.1111/deci.12133

Schultz, D., & Harutyunyan, K. (2015). Combating corruption: the development of whistleblowing laws in the United States, Europe, and Armenia. International Comparative Jurisprudence, 1(2), 87-97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icj.2015.12.005

Silva, G. R. d., & Sousab, R. G. d. (2017). The influence of the anonymous whistle blowing channel on accounting fraud detection in organizations. Journal of Accounting and Organizations, 30, 46-57.

Stansbury, J. M., & Victor, B. (2009). Whistle blowing among young employees: a life-course perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 85(3), 281-299. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-008-9770-8

Taylor, J. (2018). Internal whistle blowing in the public service: a matter of trust. Public Administration Review, 78(5), 717-726. https://doi.org/10.1111/puar.12946

Bertalanffy, L. V. (1968). General system theory: foundations, development, applications. George Braziller.

Vadera, A. K., Aguilera, R. V., & Caza, B. B. (2009). Making sense of whistle-blowing's antecedents: learning from research on identity and ethics programs. Business Ethics Quarterly, 19(4), 553-586. https://doi.org/10.5840/beq200919432

Wang, T. K., Fu, K. J., & Yang, K. (2018). Do good workplace relationships encourage employee whistle blowing? Public Performance & Management Review, 41(4), 768-789. https://doi.org/ 10.1080/15309576.2018.1464935

Winardi, D. R. (2013). The influence of individual and situational factors on lower-level civil servants’ whistle blowing intention in Indonesia. Journal of Indonesian Economy and Business, 28(3), 361-376. https://doi.org/10.22146/jieb.6216.

Wortley, R., Cassematis, P., & Donkin, M. (2008). Who blows the whistle, who doesn’t and why? In A. J. Brown (Ed.), Whistleblowing in the Australian public sector: enhancing the theory and practice of internal witness management in public sector organizations (pp. 53-82). ANUE.

Zeelenberg, M., & Pieters, R. (2007). A theory of regret regulation 1.0. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 17(1), 3-18. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327663jcp1701_3



How to Cite

Abbas, N., & Ashiq, U. (2020). Why I don’t Blow the Whistle? Perceived Barriers by the University Teachers to Report Wrong Doings. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 4(2), 84–97. https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/4.2.8