Whistleblowing in the Public Sector: A Systematic Literature Review
Public administration scholars have provided a variety of theoretical insights to understand bureaucratic whistleblowing, and have emphasized its ethical, legal, and practical rationales in the context of democratic bureaucracy. To enhance our understanding of this principled dissent behavior in the public sector, this study systematically reviews 71 whistleblowing articles and dissertations that address three aspects in the literature: (1) definitions and theories; (2) methods and data, and (3) factors associated with whistleblowing intention and behavior. The findings show public administration whistleblowing research typically uses Near and Miceli’s definition, grounded on psychology, ethics, and human resource management (HRM) theories. Methodologically, there is a notable recent trend in the growth of empirical research using survey data, and equal attention has been paid to both whistleblowing intention and behavior variables. Based on the review findings, the study discusses two issues—definitional and theoretical—and presents four research agendas for future bureaucratic whistleblowing scholarship.
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