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Understandings of whistleblowing: Dilemmas of societal culture

Understandings of whistleblowing: Dilemmas of societal culture

Vandekerckhove, Wim ORCID: 0000-0002-0106-7915, Uys, Tina, Rehg, Michael T. and Brown, A. J. (2014) Understandings of whistleblowing: Dilemmas of societal culture. In: Brown, A. J., Lewis, David, Moberly, Richard and Vandekerckhove, Wim ORCID: 0000-0002-0106-7915, (eds.) International Handbook of Whistleblowing Research. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 37-70. ISBN 9781781006788

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In this chapter, we demonstrate that for cross-cultural research into whistleblowing to date, this has proved a substantial challenge. So far, while the research record is important, it is relatively shallow. Overall, we argue it is time to develop a revised model (or models) for investigating and comparing how whistleblowing manifests in different societies, and the implications of cultural difference for how it is understood and managed. In the next section we sketch some of the basic implications of how concepts of whistleblowing have developed, followed by a basic overview of how the study of culture has interfaced with whistleblowing research to date – chiefly through the model of culture’s influences on organizational life developed by Hofstede (1980, 1991, 2002). In the third section we review the empirical record of this research since it began in the early 1990s, and which, despite the dominance of Hofstede’s model, gives very mixed results. The fourth section then highlights some further limitations of the research based on that model. We review other research raising questions about the model and present findings from our own research on the acceptability of whistleblowing in the United Kingdom and Australia, illustrating the limited explanatory (and even predictive) power of Hofstede’s model. In the fifth section, we discuss what kind of adapted or alternative research model might provide greater cross-cultural insights into whistleblowing. In particular, we suggest further examination of Schwartz’s approach (Schwartz 1994, Schwartz and Bardi 2001) as a possible research perspective, one that would allow for cultural shift and universals. The final, section discusses some key practical and methodological problems faced by researchers who wish to research whistleblowing cross-culturally, before conclusions are drawn.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: [1] Chapter 2, in Part I: Research Fundamentals.
Uncontrolled Keywords: whistleblowing, cross-cultural research
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:31

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