Fighting Corruption in Organisations

Ales Pachmann on corruption in the Czech Republic

Written by Aleš Pachmann 

It is very difficult to collect evidence of corruption in organisations and fight against it.  Based on Czech experience, this article tries to make it easy. Fighting corruption is very important for any type of organisation.


Recently, two independent surveys focusing on police corruption in the Czech Republic were administered. These surveys were as follows: (1) Project “Professional Integrity“ elaborated jointly by the Transparency International – Czech republic and the Department of Education of the Ministry of the Interior-Czech Republic. The survey was administered in the Police Schools  in 2004. (2) The survey undertook by mjr. PhDr. Mgr. Martin Bílek in 2005. The survey is a part of his postgradual studies in The Faculty of Social Studies, Charles University, Prague.

The surveys tried to inquire corruption integrity (corruption resistance among policemen),   corruption complicity (unwillingness of policemen to announce corruption among their colleagues) and corruption benevolence (unwillingness of policemen to actively deal with corruption among their colleagues).
There were given questions for example in this way (for one case study):
1. A policeman gave information from the police database about a third person to his friend.
a) What is your perception of the social dangers of such behavior?
(Not dangerous at all, Not dangerous, Dangerous, Very dangerous)
b) How do you think your colleagues would feel about this?
(Not dangerous at all, Not dangerous, Dangerous, Very dangerous)
c) Would you report such behavior to your manager?
(Absolutely no, Probably no, Probably yes, Absolutely yes)
d) Do you think that such behavior would be reported by your colleagues?
(Absolutely no, Probably no, Probably yes, Absolutely yes)
As there is a saying, “fish rots from the head”, Mr. Bilek also included into his survey the corruption indicators for management. This includes measures or actions taken by police managers when they find corrupt transactions. In the survey policemen were asked on the behaviour of their managers and, similarly, the managers were also asked to evaluate themselves.

Main conclusions are:

– managers less than 25 years old are found to be highly dangerous. 
corruption benevolence is statistically better (in a positive and moral way) among policemen on duty than among policemen in the police academies.
– Positive values on corruption integrity, benevolence and complicity are rapidly increasing among policemen who have been on  duty for five years or more or are older than 30 years.
– Significantly more positive values on corruption integrity, benevolence and complicity were found for policemen holding university degrees compared to  policemen with only to high school education.

All mentioned factors were measured for each police sector, department and station. With this measurement, it is possible to detect places having a high probability or degree of corruption in any type of organisation.

Practical usage

However, the survey resulsts revealed old true that the most important factor for controlling corruption is the integrity of the managers in fighting against corruption among their staff members. (1) Often the managers simply do not have a knowlege of high level corruption activities taking among their staff members. Surveys can reveal this posibility and the managers can take counter measures. (2) Sometimes managers themselves organise corruption through clientelistic networks using so called “fall guys”. Managers are than excluded from investigation if corrupt acts are detected. Using surveys, such managers can be detected with a high level of probability.

The second type of managers is always using so called negative methods of management. These methods can be detected by audit on the quality of organisations (sector, department, station) in a way like using EFQM Excellence model (see

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Fundamental Concepts of Excellence are:

– Leadership and Constancy of Purpose
– Customer Focus
– Corporate Social Responsibility
– People Development and Involvement
– Results Orientation
– Management by Processes & Facts
– Continuous Learning, Innovation and Improvement
– Partnership Development

Models are using companies such as Nokia, Siemens, Yell, Xerox, TNT plus countless others in both private and public sectors, in small and large businesses. It is achieving results that delight all the organisation’s shareholders. Disorders that are found can lead to the change of management stuff in any type of organisation.  If the quality of organisations is improved then it is possible to get rid of corrupt managers and their subordianated staff members.

It is possible to measure reserves in productivity of  organisations by surveys mentioned above. It is proven that the level of corruption in a state measured  by Transparency International ( negatively correlates to productivity of organisations. In highly corrupted countries can be expected highly corrupted employees in organisations. If organisations improve management and get rid of corrupt managers, then productivity rises rapidly.

(Mr. Pachmann is associated with Police Academy of the Czech Republic. This is his own opinion)


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