Whistle-Blowing: Students' Perceptions

Brittany A. Alexander


Despite increasing emphasis on ethics in accounting education, little emphasis has been placed on whistle-blowing. This may be due to the lack of perceived interest and literature focusing on how whistle-blowing affects the accounting professional and student. The current study seeks to assess the knowledge of unethical behavior and attitudes toward blowing the whistle of accounting students at the University of Southern Mississippi. The study uses a survey instrument to examine students’ perceptions of situations that should be reported. Statistical analyses provide evidence that students completing two Auditing courses are more likely to whistle-blow an unethical behavior. Additionally, students having experienced a presentation by a real-life whistle-blower provide evidence of an enhanced understanding of the process. Non- traditional students also are more receptive to acting upon exposure to an unethical situation. The results of this study are support the position that more emphasis needs to be placed on whistle-blowing in ethics education in accounting curriculum.