Improving anti‐corruption agencies as organisations

Alan Doig (International Development Department, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
David Norris (Teesside Business School, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, UK)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Publication date: 13 July 2012



Anti‐corruption Agencies (ACAs) have been seen by donors and commentators as a visible and discrete institutional response to a country's commitment to anti‐corruption work. A number of reports have commented adversely on the general effectiveness and impact of ACAs in practice. Much of the concern relates to the environment in which the ACA works, but over which they have limited control, but often fails to address an ACA as an organisation something over which an ACA does exercise much more control. The purpose of this article is to argue that there are common organisational issues that face any new and small institutions in both public and private sectors, that may assist an ACA's development.


The article reviews the extensive literature to assess what appear to be the key issues facing such organisations in the private sector usually termed small to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) – and discusses whether their experiences offer any applicability to an ACA's organisational strategy and development.


The article argues that a number of organisational issues are generic and ACAs, and those who support and fund them, should draw on the lessons from the wider private sector management and organisational development literature on SMEs for ACAs.

Practical implications

The article provides a framework for ACAs to consider organisational reform and to guide donor support.


ACAs are rarely reviewed as an organisation. Indeed, much of the criticism identified in this article points to this as a significant issue, for which private sector approaches may provide guidance for organisational reform.



Doig, A. and Norris, D. (2012), "Improving anti‐corruption agencies as organisations", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 255-273.

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