Whistleblowing disclosure in leading sustainability corporations
: a content analysis of whistleblowing policies

  • Maria Francisca da Costa Fernandes (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Despite the academic and legal progressive efforts to encourage corporate whistleblowing, a set of thorough and practical guidelines on creating and maintaining an efficient internal whistleblowing system is yet lacking, namely regarding the design and content of the whistleblowing policies (Gao & Brink, 2017). Corporate whistleblowing systems are central to an ethical organization's culture (M. S. Schwartz, 2013) and sustainability (S&P Global, 2022). Based upon Hassink et al. (2007) research, this study performed a content analysis on public whistleblowing information from ten large corporations for the purpose to answer the question “How are sustainable-world-leading corporations, in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods industry, managing whistleblowing?” The findings reveal that the disclosed whistleblowing information is scattered and heterogeneity in the implementation of whistleblowing systems, with discrepancies in both the level and content of the disclosure. Notwithstanding, some topics were disclosed with greater evenness namely the guarantee of confidentiality, the possibility of anonymous reporting, the protection of the whistleblower against retaliation and the pledge of a serious investigation. Overall, there is room for improvement in the design of whistleblowing policies, both in terms of fostering communication and transparency as well as the level of formality involved. This research answers Gao & Brink (2017) call for research into the differences and trends in corporate whistleblowing structures, besides having practical relevance for corporations that still lack whistleblowing policies or to those that intend to benchmark and strengthen their own.
Date of Award13 Oct 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorHelena Maria da Silva Maia de Castro Gonçalves (Supervisor)


  • Whistleblowing
  • Whistleblowing policies
  • Content analysis
  • Ethics


  • Mestrado em Gestão

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