Developing cultures of integrity in the public and private sectors

Richard Mulgan, John Wanna

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Richard Mulgan and John Wanna Anti-corruption strategies place considerable emphasis on the importance of developing appropriate cultures which encourage integrity in those entrusted with positions of responsibility (and more broadly within the wider community). Integrity cultures, in this sense, may be broadly understood as the set of endorsed social understandings, behaviours and practices that affect how people think and act. Cultures are commonly distinguished from the formal organizational structures, such as institutions and legal rules. While such institutions and rules provide the background context and can help to frame social action, it is the living-breathing culture that determines how they operate in practice and how people act in the many situations not covered by formal rules. Accordingly, while the quality of legal regulation is certainly an important factor in affecting the extent of malfeasance or corruption, research has repeatedly shown that underlying cultural values and informal expectations among the actors involved are equally, if not more, influential (Dobel, 2005; Heintzman, 2006). For this reason, much of the emphasis in building ethical environments and in combating corruption has moved from legal enforcement of ethical rules towards trying to change cultural attitudes in the direction of greater support for integrity and greater intolerance of corrupt behaviour. The contrast and interplay between culture and legal enforcement in anti-corruption strategies reflects more general philosophical tensions between two approaches to professional ethics in both the private and public sectors. One, a more legalistic or codified approach concentrates on following rules and procedures that specify standards...
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHandbook of Global Research and Practice in Corruption
    Editors Adam Graycar & Russell G Smith
    Place of PublicationCheltenham, UK and Northampton, USA
    PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
    ISBN (Print)9781849805018
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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