Whistleblowing reports, if properly investigated, facilitate the early detection of fraud. Although critical, investigation-related decisions represent a relatively underexplored component of the whistleblowing process. Investigators are responsible for initially deciding whether to follow-up on reports alleging fraud. We report the results of an experimental study examining the follow-up intentions of highly experienced healthcare investigators. Participants, in the role of an insurance investigator, are asked to review a whistleblowing report alleging billing fraud occurring at a medical provider. Thus, participants are serving as external investigators. In a between-participant design, we manipulate the report type and whether the caller previously confronted the wrongdoer. We find that compared to an anonymous report, a non-anonymous report is perceived as more credible and follow-up intentions stronger. We also find that perceived credibility fully mediates the relationship between report type and follow-up intentions. Previous confrontation is not significantly associated with either perceived credibility or follow-up intentions.
External investigators' follow-up intentions when whistleblowers report healthcare fraud: The effects of report anonymity and previous confrontation
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Steven E. Kaplan, Danny Lanier Jr., Kelly R. Pope, Janet A. Samuels; External investigators' follow-up intentions when whistleblowers report healthcare fraud: The effects of report anonymity and previous confrontation. Behavioral Research in Accounting doi: https://doi.org/10.2308/BRIA-19-042
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