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Whistle-Blowing among Young Employees: A Life-Course Perspective

Jason M. Stansbury and Bart Victor
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 85, No. 3 (Mar., 2009), pp. 281-299
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40295115
Page Count: 19
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Whistle-Blowing among Young Employees: A Life-Course Perspective
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Abstract

The 2003 National Business Ethics Survey, conducted by the Ethics Resource Center, found that respondents who were both young and had short organizational tenure were substantially less likely than other respondents to report misconduct that they observed in the workplace to an authority. We propose that the life-course model of deviance can help account for this attenuation of acquiescence in misbehavior. As employees learn to perceive informal prosocial control during their socialization into the workforce, we hypothesize that they will become more willing to blow the whistle on misconduct. Analysis of the 2003 NBES (n = 1,417, with a subset of 314 who observed misconduct) reveals that young and shorttenured employees do perceive less informal prosocial control, and that informal prosocial control does boost whistle-blowing; however, tests for mediation of the relationship between youth and short-tenure and whistleblowing by informal social control were largely negative, suggesting that other explanations are still needed.

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