The whistleblower's dilemma and the fairness-loyalty tradeoff

Adam Gray Waytz, James Dungan, Liane Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 48 Citations

Abstract

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.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages1027-1033
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume49
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013

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Whistleblowing
loyalty
fairness
Social Justice
Individuality
Psychology
justice
determinants
human being

Keywords

  • Ethics
  • Fairness
  • Loyalty
  • Morality
  • Whistleblowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Waytz, Adam Gray ; Dungan, James ; Young, Liane. / The whistleblower's dilemma and the fairness-loyalty tradeoff. In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 2013 ; Vol. 49, No. 6. pp. 1027-1033.
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The whistleblower's dilemma and the fairness-loyalty tradeoff. / Waytz, Adam Gray; Dungan, James; Young, Liane.

In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 49, No. 6, 01.11.2013, p. 1027-1033.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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