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What is Organizational Corruption?

The Handbook of Business and Corruption

ISBN: 978-1-78635-446-4, eISBN: 978-1-78635-445-7

Publication date: 29 August 2017


In its most basic usage, “corruption” means a change from functional or good to dysfunctional or bad. This definition is far too broad to be of use to scholars or policymakers, who need a more precise, shared definition so that they can communicate meaningfully with one another. Scholars and policymakers have developed scores of definitions, which this chapter briefly explains. Within this galaxy of definitions, scholars and policymakers have tended to favor one definition, which this chapter calls the “general definition.” The general definition describes organizational corruption as: the abuse or misuse of power or trust for self-interested purposes rather than the purposes for which power or trust was given. This chapter discusses and illustrates the general definition. The chapter concludes by pointing out that the general definition is only one definition. In many places, the public is deeply concerned with phenomena such as undue influence, which should also be taken into consideration as a form of corruption even though it falls outside of the general definition.



Nichols, P.M. (2017), "What is Organizational Corruption?", Aßländer, M.S. and Hudson, S. (Ed.) The Handbook of Business and Corruption, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 3-23.



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