Whistleblowing - reporting another person's unethical behavior to a third party - often constitutes a conflict between competing moral concerns. Whistleblowing promotes justice and fairness but can also appear disloyal. Five studies demonstrate that a fairness-loyalty tradeoff predicts people's willingness to blow the whistle. Study 1 demonstrates that individual differences in valuing fairness over loyalty predict willingness to report unethical behavior. Studies 2a and 2b demonstrate that experimentally manipulating endorsement of fairness versus loyalty increases willingness to report unethical behavior. Study 3 demonstrates that people recall their decisions to report unethical behavior as driven by valuation of fairness, whereas people recall decisions not to report unethical behavior as driven by valuation of loyalty. Study 4 demonstrates that experimentally manipulating the endorsement of fairness versus loyalty increases whistleblowing in an online marketplace. These findings reveal the psychological determinants of whistleblowing and shed light on factors that encourage or discourage this practice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science