Whistleblowing policies and corporate values: a review of Australia’s largest corporations

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Abstract

Values are the precursors of ethical behaviour. In this research study, Australia’s largest securities exchange-listed companies were explored for alignment of their corporate values as published on their public website to their whistleblower policies (WBP). The Corporations Act 2001 requires organisations’ WBPs to be externally available to facilitate reporting by former employees and others, yet five organisations (10.2%) had not posted their WBP on their corporate website. Most (n = 44, 89.8%) of Australia’s 49 largest companies profess corporate values on their public website, but only one also fully replicated their corporate values in their WBP. Two organisations made no mention of their corporate values in either location. Of the 44 organisations which posted their WBP on their corporate website, 29.6% (n = 13) make no mention of their corporate values in their WBP (either specifically or generically as “values”). Most organisations (70.5%; n = 31) evidenced weak or no alignment of values across their website and WBP. Notably, 22.7% (n = 10) have a partial listing of their values in their WBP, rather than the full set, and 11.4% (n = 5) have a different/unmatched set of values as compared to those listed on their website. Corporate values such as trust, integrity, safety, respect, and accountability are the ethical buttress of a whistleblowing management system, and when WBPs explicitly express corporate values as fundamental to purposing the policy, this potentially creates a shared values alliance between employees and the organisation voicing support for prosocial behaviours (including whistleblowing).
Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalSN Business & Economics
Volume2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2022

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