Within the scope of the study, data from companies in Germany, France, Great Britain and Switzerland were collected quantitatively.
Form and duration of the survey
The quantitative survey was conducted by means of an online questionnaire. The questions were identical for all four countries and could be answered in German, English or French. In addition to general demographic data, the participants were asked about misconduct in their company, the design, use and impact of the whistleblowing system, the frequency and type of incoming reports and communication measures. The survey was carried out in January and February 2019.
Sample and response
A stratified random sample was drawn for the online questionnaire. For each country, this comprises around one third small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) with 20 to 249 employees and two thirds large companies (250 employees or more). A total of 331 British, 352 German, 344 French and 365 Swiss companies took part in the survey. This corresponds to a response rate of roughly 12 per cent. The survey was aimed exclusively at company representatives who occupy one of the following positions and thus have a deep understanding of compliance in the respective company: Managing Director, Owner, Partner, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Other Member of the Executive Board, Head of Compliance, Compliance Manager, Head of Legal Services, Legal Manager, Head of Human Resources, Human Resources Manager, head of another department or employee with in-depth knowledge of compliance measures in the company.
Evaluation and representativeness
The data was evaluated using descriptive and multivariate statistical methods. Due to the sampling, the results can be generalised to the two company groups: SMEs with 20 to 249 employees and large companies with 250 or more employees. The confidence interval is ± 2.7 with a confidence level of 95 per cent.
To ensure high data quality, various measures were implemented from the conception of the survey to its evaluation. On the one hand, the questionnaire was developed with the involvement of experts from all four countries. Furthermore, the designed and programmed survey was tested by various test persons with regard to content, comprehensibility and user-friendliness. The survey was also initiated with a soft launch to identify possible deficiencies. Finally, a careful preparation and evaluation of the data ensued in order to minimise possible sources of error in the interpretation of the results.