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From individual deviance to collective corruption: A social influence model of the spread of deviance in organisations

Wellan, Jackie M. (2004) From individual deviance to collective corruption: A social influence model of the spread of deviance in organisations. In Bailey, C., Cabrera, D., & Buys, L. (Eds.) Social Change in the 21st Century Conference; Centre for Social Change Research; Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

The consequences of corruption in organisations are pervasive and severe. As well as threatening the well-being of individual employees and the effective functioning of organisations and industries, corruption can erode the moral fabric of society as a whole. Perspectives on corruption have highlighted the critical role that normative factors play in developing microcosms that support and maintain corrupt activities. There has been a relative lack of interest, however, in the mechanisms underlying how corrupt actions that initially violate norms regarding acceptable work behaviour gain the social support necessary to become embedded features of the work environment. This paper adopts a social influence framework to explain how deviant acts that start out as isolated incidences enacted by a minority of individuals in an organisation can, under certain conditions, become day-to-day organisational procedures and practices executed through the coordinated efforts of numerous employees. The paper explores the cognitive and psychological processes that underlie the powerful influence of deviant individuals on work groups and the collective properties of groups such as climate, norms, and culture. Strategic implications for the prevention of corruption are discussed in relation to several key factors that moderate the effects of deviants on the attitudes and actions of other group members. This approach also links in well at a practical level with several existing and widely used corruption-prevention strategies.

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ID Code: 649
Item Type: Conference Paper
ISBN: 1741070813
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisational Planning and Management (150312)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Jackie M. Wellan
Deposited On: 21 Dec 2004
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2012 19:42

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