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AIS Transactions on Replication Research

Abstract

This study is a near exact replication of an experiment by Smith et al. (2001) that explores how individuals respond to the need to share bad news about an IT project. The replication results reinforce the crux of the original findings, which identify that when individuals think that negative information should be reported, they feel a greater responsibility to do so, but only to internal sources. In contrast with the original study, this replication study finds that a greater responsibility to report leads to more (rather than less) reluctance to report to an individual within the chain of command. Further, this study finds that an increased risk perception of a project does not necessarily result in a person being more likely to claim that the project’s status ought to be reported, and perceived wrongdoing does not have a significant impact on responsibility to report. The results imply that whistle-blowing theories may vary greatly with internal versus external sources for reporting, and individuals may be sensitized by several notable company scandals and subsequent legislation to curtail wrongdoing. Further, researchers are encouraged to continue examining other factors impacting one’s need and responsibility to report bad news.

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