Towards a sociological understanding of the relationship between job satisfaction and whistleblowing
Author(s)Robinson, Raymond William
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Whistleblowing can be defined as the disclosure by organisation members (former or current) of illegal, immoral or illegitimate practices under the control of their employers, to persons or organisations that may be able to effect action. There are various factors that influence the extent to which people would be prepared to blow the whistle. One of these factors is job satisfaction. The extent to which people are satisfied in their jobs influences the extent to which the whistle will be blown. However, the relationship between whistleblowing and job satisfaction has not been studied in great detail and not at all in a South African context. The nature of this relationship was explored among academic staff at a South African university by means of a quantitative study. It was decided to conduct the study at the Auckland Park Kingsway Campus (APK) of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) due to the degree of transformation that has taken place at this institution in recent years and thus being relevant regarding the issue of job satisfaction. The study involved investigating the circumstances under which academic staff would be prepared to blow the whistle, how far they would be prepared to go in terms of making use of various channels to report wrongdoing, the level of job satisfaction, as well as the relationship between job satisfaction and the responses of academic staff members to whistleblowing. Examination of the findings revealed that overall the academic staff of the University of Johannesburg are satisfied in their jobs and this correlated, to a small degree, with the furthest reporting of offences that are minor in nature. Overall, academic staff were more inclined to report wrongdoing internally. Academic staff who had been employed at the university for more than ten years as well as those who had no financial dependants were slightly more inclined to report wrongdoing than those who had been employed for a shorter period of time and had financial dependants.