Whistleblowing is the disclosure of ingroup wrongdoing to an external agency and can have important functions for the regulation of moral and legal conduct. Organizational research has focused largely on the impact of individual and organizational factors, while overlooking the role of group memberships and associated social identities. Further, social psychologists have so far paid little attention to this phenomenon, or else have tended to subsume it within analysis of dissent. To address these lacunae, we present a psychological model of whistleblowing that draws on social identity theorizing (after Tajfel & Turner, 1979). This model describes when and how social identities and different forms of power motivate group members to respond to ingroup wrongdoing by engaging in whistleblowing. Our review of the literature points to the model’s ability to integrate existing evidence while providing direction for future research. We also discuss the model’s capacity to inform whistleblowing policy and procedures.
- organizational commitment
- social identity