Encouraging employees to report unethical conduct internally: It takes a village

David M. Mayer, Samir Nurmohamed, Linda Klebe Treviño, Debra L. Shapiro, Marshall Schminke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Via three studies of varying methodologies designed to complement and build upon each other, we examine how supervisory ethical leadership is associated with employees' reporting unethical conduct within the organization (i.e., internal whistle-blowing). We also examine whether the positive effect of supervisory ethical leadership is enhanced by another important social influence: coworkers' ethical behavior. As predicted, we found that employees' internal whistle-blowing depends on an ethical tone being set by complementary social influence sources at multiple organizational levels (both supervisory and coworker levels), leading us to conclude that " it takes a village" to support internal whistle-blowing. Also, this interactive effect was found to be mediated by a fear of retaliation in two studies but not by perceptions of futility. We conclude by identifying theoretical and practical implications of our research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-103
Number of pages15
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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