Journal of Business Ethics 120 (2):1-16 (2014)

Whistle blowing programs have been central to numerous government, legislative, and regulatory reform efforts in recent years. To protect investors, corporate boards have instituted numerous measures to promote whistle blowing. Despite significant whistle blowing incentives, few individuals blow the whistle when presented with the opportunity. Instead, individuals often remain fallaciously silent and, in essence, become passive fraudsters themselves. Using the fraud triangle and models of moral behavior, we model and analyze fallacious silence and identify factors that may motivate an individual to rationalize fallacious silence. We use a survey of graduate accounting students to test hypothesized factors that contribute to fallacious silence rationalizations in an academic setting. We find evidence that the ability to rationalize fallacious silence is related to community influences and personal traits such as awareness and moral competence
Keywords Whistleblowing  Silence  Fraud triangle  Rationalization  Moral competence  Moral behavior  Professional identity  Awareness  Incentives  Community influences
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Reprint years 2014
DOI 10.1007/s10551-013-1639-9
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