We Can Fix it – Corruption in the Construction Industry

The Handbook of Business and Corruption

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

Publication date: 29 August 2017


In this chapter, the nature and extent of corruption in the construction industry is considered from a worldwide perspective, but particularly in the context of research conducted in South Africa. The definition of corruption is expanded to include conflict of interest and unethical conduct. Corruption in the construction industry is found to be universal and pervasive, occurring in all areas, at all stages, at all levels, and in all forms. A simple triangular model of corruption is replaced by a more complex four-dimensional risk-based model. The challenge for the construction industry, in combating corruption, will essentially require multilateral action in all four dimensions of the enhanced model: eliminating and reducing opportunities where possible; relieving the pressures to commit corrupt acts; rebutting the rationales and arguments used to excuse corruption; and substantially improving and innovating more forensic methods of detection. While the decision to engage in corruption is risk-based, particularly in terms of the capacity to evade detection; in essence corruption is a cultural and moral issue for society.



Edwards, P., Bowen, P. and Cattell, K. (2017), "We Can Fix it – Corruption in the Construction Industry", Aßländer, M. and Hudson, S. (Ed.) The Handbook of Business and Corruption, Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 391-421. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78635-445-720161018

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