Assessing the Impact of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2002: A Quasi-experiment

KANG, Minsung Michael

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Is the new shield effective? The impact of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act: A quasi-experimental analysis of U.S. federal government Though the U.S. federal whistleblower protection is designed as a long-term temporal process, and the civil service act has encouraged to federal bureaucrats feel free to make a disclosure for nearly 40 years, the efficacy of the protection is still unclear. In particular, we have a paucity of research using causal methods to determine how the whistleblower protection has shaped the federal workforce over time. This study conducts a quasi-experimental assessment of the impact of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 (WPEA) on the Department of Homeland Security bureaucrats’ whistleblowing intention in three distinct ways. First, this study descriptively analyzes federal bureaucrats’ whistleblowing intention from 2010 to 2017 to accumulate general knowledge. Second, it assesses the impact of the WPEA by setting the DHS as a treatment group to test whether the WPEA changed bureaucrats’ willingness to blow the whistle. The use of comparison groups in other federal agencies allows us to consider whether changes in whistleblowing intention are due to the enhancement or a mere reflection of governmentwide trends. Third, it tests whether the findings in business whistleblowing studies are generalizable to the public organization context. The findings indicate that the WPEA has moderate, but statistically significant effects in increasing bureaucrats’ whistleblowing intention. As an implication, this study calls for an academic attention toward “bureaucratic whistleblowing” and theory underlying how to best protect and empower the prospective federal whistleblowers.

Issue Date
Academy of Management
Conf. Name
Academy of Management (AoM)
Hilton Boston Back Bay
Conference Date
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