Public Perceptions of Whistleblowing

Milton Heumann, Al Friedes, David Redlawsk, Lance Cassak, Aniket Kesari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


This article reports the results of a two-pronged exploration of public perceptions of whistleblowing, the first using a statewide public opinion poll, and the second, a laboratory experiment in which a multistage scenario determined respondents’ support for an employee’s protest actions and their classification of the employee as a whistleblower. One substantial finding is that self-interest taints the purity of the employee’s motivation making it less likely for respondents to classify the employee as a whistleblower. The employee’s gender, the type of action protested, and whether the employee worked in the public or private sector were randomly manipulated, with no significant differences in respondents’ support or classification of whistleblowing. Implications for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-24
Number of pages19
JournalPublic Integrity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Law


  • organizational wrongdoing
  • value of whistleblowing
  • whistleblower retaliation
  • whistleblowing

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  • Cite this

    Heumann, M., Friedes, A., Redlawsk, D., Cassak, L., & Kesari, A. (2016). Public Perceptions of Whistleblowing. Public Integrity, 18(1), 6-24.