Corruption and Whistleblowing
RC17 Sociology of Organization
Since the late 1990s authors have started to raise concerns with regard to the increasing importance of corruption as an impediment to economic and social development. Public debate on corruption tends towards a cultural relativism that primarily deems corruption a problem of the developing world and subaltern groups. The debate on African corruption in particular fluctuates between viewing African corruption as a hopeless case, as the perversion of a corruption-free pre-colonial social order, or as the logical instrument to be employed in the struggle for survival. The focus of this session is on the contribution of sociologists to this debate, with the emphasis on understanding corruption as a social rather than an individual problem. Whilst acknowledging the contested nature of the concept of corruption, such an approach should explore the role of corruption networks and also consider the influence of inequality, power and institutional resilience in democracies.
One way of addressing corruption is through the promotion of whistleblowing by employees. Ensuring effective protection of whistleblowers as well as the implementation of confidential reporting processes are generally considered important ways in which to encourage employees to bring ethical and legal violations they are aware of to an internal authority so that action can be taken immediately to resolve the problem; to minimize the organization’s exposure to the damage and in so doing to let employees know the organization is serious about adherence to codes of conduct. Papers focusing on a sociological approach to corruption and/or whistleblowing are welcome.
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