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Better scrutiny leads to reduced corruption and stronger democracies in all society’s institutions, including government, corporations and other organizations.




Released on June 15, 2018 @ 22:10 EDT

 Tackling Corruption

This paper represents a response to the need to understand the relations between managerial attitudes, organizational culture and corruption in organisations. The study reported in this paper focuses on two main issues. First and foremost, it aims to describe how top managers perceive their role in implementing anti-corruption measures in their organizations. In terms of corruption, they postulate the existence of two types of organisational culture. In the first case, the organisation’s declared values are compatible with the values it practises, in the second case its anti corruption values are not followed in practice and may thus indirectly even contribute to corruption. Most of the researchers writing on the subject have focused on macro-level determinants of corruption such as economics, culture, history, or political system.T hose who have stressed micro-level or organisational causes have mainly concentrated on the structural variables of corruption in organisations. Although micro-level studies of corruption to explore the links between specific leadership styles and integrity in police organisations exist they are very rare. Despite considerable interest among academics in the effects of ethical leadership styles and role-modelling on organisational culture, precious few attempts have been made to understand the values of managers in law enforcement agencies and the correlation of these values to corruption. In part, this could be due to a certain reluctance among many researchers directly to approach law enforcement managers.

Moralists and behaviourists see corruption as “an immoral phenomenon”, which manifests itself in “selfish and improper conduct” of individuals. Institutionalists, on the other hand, stress the importance of social context and the fact that “social choices are shaped, mediated, and channelled by institutional arrangements”. Individual characteristics alone are not sufficient to account for a person’s deviant behaviour. It has been suggested that illegal and deviant behaviour by members of an organisation is in part induced by the unfair treatment that they experience in the organisation or by unethical actions on the part of their supervisors and that the management’s unjust actions and/or decisions may result in counterproductive behaviour on the part of employees. Some researchers attribute the occurrence of corruption in societies to the insufficient professionalism and low ethical standards of officials serving in their government institutions while others consider this view to be tantamount to individualising a phenomenon that should properly be regarded as societal and cultural. However, the poor performance of civil servants may also simply reflect a weak organisational culture and mediocre management.

Weak legal system can be a source of corruption and a consequence of corruption at the same time. Ineffective legal system, complex and ambiguous regulations that allow multiple interpretations may encourage the use of position for personal gain, and consequently reduce the effectiveness of the laws and their enforcers through political appointments or through reducing and allocating resources. It is common knowledge that mere existence of severe and inflexible laws does not guarantee that they are actually observed. These are laws that impose a prevailing value judgment in cases to which that judgment should not apply (for instance, where the corresponding behaviour causes no harm to anyone). Sanctions, too, may turn out to be counterproductive – although they are likely to inhibit people from acting in a way that attracts a particular punishment, they may also weaken the moral authority of the rules that prescribe the punishment. If a sanction is removed, people may still continue to behave in the way they consider to be morally right. Thus, sanctions are likely to yield positive effects only when they persuade people that the prohibited act or course of action is immoral.

The defensiveness and passiveness of the managers can be attributed to several reasons – for example, it would be short-sighted on the part of managers to express mistrust of their employees and to admit problems in their organisations. This defensiveness and lack of self-criticism may be part of the overall managerial culture in organization and departments  in general. The lack of leadership skills, a fear of making mistakes and the tendency to self-justification all hamper the proactive development of managerial culture. Furthermore, it has been argued that central and  isolated municipalities  suffer from poor policy analysis and insufficient management experience. Sudbury case is an  ideal example.

WikiLeaks Sudbury
June 2018

Note: This article originally published on Baltic Journal of Management, 7( 3),  287-301 (2012).  Brief overview and excerpts of the articles and concepts are noted above.  

Soot M. (2012).  The role of management in tackling corruption. Baltic Journal of Management, 7( 3),  287-301

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