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Value conflicts and non-compliance: Attitudes to whistleblowing in Swedish organisations

Journal article
Authors Joakim Berndtsson
Peter Johansson
Martin Karlsson
Published in Information and Computer Security
Volume 26
Issue 2
Pages 246-258
ISSN 20564961
Publication year 2018
Published at School of Global Studies
Pages 246-258
Language en
Keywords Information security, Non-compliance, Organizations, Sweden, Value conflicts, Whistleblowing
Subject categories Political Science, Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of the study is to explore potential value conflicts between information security work and whistleblowing activities by analysing attitudes to whistleblowing among white-collar workers in Swedish organisations. Design/methodology/approach: The study is conducted using survey data among (n = 674) Swedish white-collar workers. Statistical analyses are conducted to explore variations in acceptance of whistleblowing and analyse the relationship between acceptance for whistleblowing and information security attitudes and behaviours. Findings: The study finds strong support for whistleblowing in both public and private spheres, and by both private and public sector employees. The study also finds stronger acceptance for intra-organisational whistleblowing, while support for external whistleblowing is low. Finally, the study shows that the whistleblowing activities might be perceived as coming in conflict with information security work, even as the support for including whistleblowing functions in information security practices is high. Research limitations/implications: With a focus on one country, the study is limited in terms of empirical scope. It is also limited by a relatively small number of respondents and survey items relating to whistleblowing, which in turn affects its explanatory value. However, the study does provide unique new insight into a specific form of “non-compliance”, i.e. whistleblowing, which merits further investigation. Originality/value: Few studies exist that combine insights from the fields of whistleblowing and information security research. Thus, this study provides a basis for further investigation into attitudes and behaviours linked to whistleblowing in public and private organisations, as well as attendant value conflicts related to information security management and practice.

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