In order to enhance internal control effectiveness in detecting frauds, Anglo-Saxon firms are developing internal whistleblowing channels and procedures. Some attempts also exist in the Italian context. With our study we discuss about factors affecting the effectiveness of these procedures in an unfavorable context, such the Italian one, characterized by cultural peculiarities.
We experimentally observe the intentions of subjects to report fraud using the internal channel and we explore the effect of evidence strength and internal monetary rewards. Across treatments, we find that evidence strengths are not able, alone, to stimulate subjects to report fraud using the internal channel while internal monetary rewards appear to better motivate whistleblowing. The stronger effect of monetary rewards compared to evidence strengths is a concern that must be carefully taken into account in designing effective internal fraud reporting procedures, in order to avoid opportunistic behaviors of informers without weakening whistleblowing effectiveness.
Keywords: Whistleblowing effectiveness, internal control, evidence strength, rewards; fraud.