Review and shortcomings of literature on corruption in organizations in offering a multi-faceted and integrative understanding of the phenomenon

Fein, Elke; Weibler, J├╝rgen
September 2014
Behavioral Development Bulletin;Sep2014, Vol. 19 Issue 3, p67
Academic Journal
This article provides a brief overview of literature on corruption from different disciplinary perspectives. After a short look at contributions from history, sociology, anthropology and psychology, the paper primarily reviews articles on corruption in organizations from fields like organizational behavior (OB), behavioral ethics (BE) and management studies (MS). Despite frequent calls for a more interdisciplinary or even a "holistic view" of corruption in this literature, we claim that the literature reviewed here often fails to offer an adequate, i.e. multi-faceted and integrative understanding of the phenomenon, and that this is due to disciplinary constraints and traditions often inducing researchers to take less-than-desirably complex views onto the phenomenon. Moreover, we argue that many articles on corruption do not reflect, question and/or contextualize their own moral and/or ethical standards and evaluation criteria systematically. This is shown, first, with regard to the degree of reflexivity of the applied analytical terms and concepts in general and with regard to the extent to which value judgments are contextualized in particular. Second, our claim is illustrated by a tendency to underrate or ignore major aspects of the subjective dimension of behavior, namely actors' empirical action logics.


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