The effect of IT failure impact and personal morality on IT project reporting behavior

Chong Woo Park, Mark Keil, Jong Woo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


An individual's reluctance to report the actual status of a troubled project has recently received research attention as important contributor to project failure. While there are a variety of factors influencing the reluctance to report, prior information systems research has focused on only situational factors such risk, information asymmetry, and time pressure involved in given situation. In this paper, we examine the effects of both situational and personal factors on an individual's reporting behavior within the rubric of the basic whistle-blowing model adapted from Dozier and Miceli [1]. Specifically, we identify perceived impact information technology (IT) failure as a situational factor and personalmorality and willingness to communicate as personal factors, and investigate their effects on the assessments and decisions that individuals make about reporting the IT project's status. Based on the results of a controlled laboratory experiment, we found that perceived impact of IT failure directly affects an individual's assessment of whether a troubled project's status ought to be reported, exerting an indirect influence on willingness to report bad news, and that personal morality directly affects all three steps in the basic whistle-blowing model, as hypothesized. Willingness to communicate, however, was found not to affect an individual's willingness to report bad news. The implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-60
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Bad news reporting
  • Ethics
  • IT project management
  • Impact of information technology (IT) failure
  • Morality
  • Scope of impact
  • Type of impact
  • Whistle-blowing
  • Willingness to communicate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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