Accountants’ whistle-blowing intentions: The impact of retaliation, age, and gender
Liyanarachchi, Gregory A; Adler, Ralph W
Accounting practices and the role of auditors have been widely implicated in many corporate scandals. The accountants are likely to witness serious wrongdoings at their workplace, thus presenting them with a difficult choice of whether or not to whistle-blow. This study reports results of whistle-blowing intentions of the members of Certified Practising Accountants of Australia (CPA, Australia). The study provides data on a well-known obstacle (threat of retaliation) and demographic factors on accountants’ propensity to blow the whistle (PBW). An online survey was used to collect data. The data was analysed using a 2x3x2 (retaliation, age and gender, respectively) between-subject design. The results show a complex interaction effect of retaliation, participants’ age and gender on their PBW. Among the early career accountants, male accountants are more likely than female accountants to blow the whistle. Accountants in the mid-age group are not only likely to whistle-blow when there is retaliation but tend to be more willing to do so when that retaliation involves a direct personal loss than a loss to their associates. Accountants in the age group of 45 years or above, respond to retaliation differently depending on their gender. Specifically, female accountants’ PBW in this age group tend to decline as the retaliation threat increases from weak to strong yet the change in retaliation threat has little impact on male accountants’ PBW. These results and their implications are discussed.
Publisher: Gregory Liyanarachchi & Ralph Adler
Series: Accountancy Working Paper Series
Keywords: Australian CPAs; demographic factors; retaliation; whistle-blowing;
Research Type: Working Paper