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Are not-for-profit employees more willing (or likely) to be whistleblowers?

Andrea M. Scheetz (Department of Accounting, Finance and Business Law, Davis College of Business and Economics, Radford University, Radford, Virginia, USA)
Aaron B. Wilson (School of Accountancy, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management

ISSN: 1096-3367

Article publication date: 4 March 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether intention to report fraud varies by organization type or fraud type. Employees who self-select into not-for-profits may be inherently different from employees at other organizations.


The authors conduct a 2 × 2 experiment in which (n=107) individuals with a bookkeeping or accounting background respond to a fraud scenario. Analysis of covariance models are used for data analysis.


The authors find evidence that not-for-profit employees are more likely to report fraud and that reporting intention does not differ significantly by fraud type.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of this study include the simulation of a fraud through a hypothetical incident and the use of online participants.

Practical implications

This study expands the commitment literature by examining the role that commitment plays in the judgment and decision-making process of a whistleblower. Findings suggest affective commitment, which is an employee’s emotional attachment to the organization, and mediate the path between organization type and reporting intention. Affective commitment significantly predicts whistleblowing in not-for-profit organizations but not in for-profit organizations.


This research provides insight into how organization type influences whistleblowing intentions through constructs such as organizational commitment and public service motivation.



Scheetz, A.M. and Wilson, A.B. (2019), "Are not-for-profit employees more willing (or likely) to be whistleblowers?", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 2-25.



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