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Estimating the Incidence of Wrongdoing and Whistle-Blowing: Results of a Study Using Randomized Response Technique

Brian K. Burton and Janet P. Near
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 14, No. 1 (Jan., 1995), pp. 17-30
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25072618
Page Count: 14
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Estimating the Incidence of Wrongdoing and Whistle-Blowing: Results of a Study Using Randomized Response Technique
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Abstract

Student cheating and reporting of that cheating represents one form of organizational wrongdoing and subsequent whistle-blowing, in the context of an academic organization. Previous research has been hampered by a lack of information concerning the validity of survey responses estimating the incidence of organizational wrongdoing and whistle-blowing. An innovative method, the Randomized Response Technique (RRT), was used here to assess the validity of reported incidences of wrongdoing and whistle-blowing. Surprisingly, our findings show that estimates of these incidences did not vary significantly when RRT questionnaire results were compared to those obtained from standard surveys. In fact, a large number of business undergraduates admitted cheating while only a small percentage reported peers' cheating when they observed it. These results should be sobering for managers and their implications are considered in some detail.

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