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"Who Doesn't?"--The Impact of Descriptive Norms on Corruption.

Köbis NC, van Prooijen JW, Righetti F, Van Lange PA - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: The results indicated that descriptive norms highly correlate with corrupt behavior--both when measured before (Study 1) or after (Study 2) the behavioral measure of corruption.Finally, we adopted an experimental design to investigate the causal effect of descriptive norms on corruption (Study 3).Corrupt behavior in the corruption game significantly drops when participants receive short anti-corruption descriptive norm primes prior to the game.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Corruption poses one of the major societal challenges of our time. Considerable advances have been made in understanding corruption on a macro level, yet the psychological antecedents of corrupt behavior remain largely unknown. In order to explain why some people engage in corruption while others do not, we explored the impact of descriptive social norms on corrupt behavior by using a novel behavioral measure of corruption. We conducted three studies to test whether perceived descriptive norms of corruption (i.e. the belief about the prevalence of corruption in a specific context) influence corrupt behavior. The results indicated that descriptive norms highly correlate with corrupt behavior--both when measured before (Study 1) or after (Study 2) the behavioral measure of corruption. Finally, we adopted an experimental design to investigate the causal effect of descriptive norms on corruption (Study 3). Corrupt behavior in the corruption game significantly drops when participants receive short anti-corruption descriptive norm primes prior to the game. These findings indicate that perceived descriptive norms can impact corrupt behavior and, possibly, could offer an explanation for inter-personal and inter-cultural variation in corrupt behavior in the real world. We discuss implications of these findings and draw avenues for future research.

No MeSH data available.


Game tree of the corruption game used in Study 1.Participants make step-wise decision about whether to invite the Minister or not.
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pone.0131830.g002: Game tree of the corruption game used in Study 1.Participants make step-wise decision about whether to invite the Minister or not.

Mentions: The participants then face the decision whether or not to bribe the Minister. This criterion variable of corruption consisted of two levels in order to model a step-wise engagement in corruption (for an illustration of this decision structure see the game-tree in Fig 2). In a first instance, participants decide whether to invite the Minister to a company banquet, which ensures a bidding advantage in 50% of the equal biddings. This process is common in business transactions yet could be considered corruption as it ensures private benefits to the Minister and leads to a bidding advantage for the player [37]. Due to its common practice and legality (e.g. lobbyist practices), we refer to this choice as ‘ambiguous corruption’ in this manuscript.


"Who Doesn't?"--The Impact of Descriptive Norms on Corruption.

Köbis NC, van Prooijen JW, Righetti F, Van Lange PA - PLoS ONE (2015)

Game tree of the corruption game used in Study 1.Participants make step-wise decision about whether to invite the Minister or not.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4487686&req=5

pone.0131830.g002: Game tree of the corruption game used in Study 1.Participants make step-wise decision about whether to invite the Minister or not.
Mentions: The participants then face the decision whether or not to bribe the Minister. This criterion variable of corruption consisted of two levels in order to model a step-wise engagement in corruption (for an illustration of this decision structure see the game-tree in Fig 2). In a first instance, participants decide whether to invite the Minister to a company banquet, which ensures a bidding advantage in 50% of the equal biddings. This process is common in business transactions yet could be considered corruption as it ensures private benefits to the Minister and leads to a bidding advantage for the player [37]. Due to its common practice and legality (e.g. lobbyist practices), we refer to this choice as ‘ambiguous corruption’ in this manuscript.

Bottom Line: The results indicated that descriptive norms highly correlate with corrupt behavior--both when measured before (Study 1) or after (Study 2) the behavioral measure of corruption.Finally, we adopted an experimental design to investigate the causal effect of descriptive norms on corruption (Study 3).Corrupt behavior in the corruption game significantly drops when participants receive short anti-corruption descriptive norm primes prior to the game.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Corruption poses one of the major societal challenges of our time. Considerable advances have been made in understanding corruption on a macro level, yet the psychological antecedents of corrupt behavior remain largely unknown. In order to explain why some people engage in corruption while others do not, we explored the impact of descriptive social norms on corrupt behavior by using a novel behavioral measure of corruption. We conducted three studies to test whether perceived descriptive norms of corruption (i.e. the belief about the prevalence of corruption in a specific context) influence corrupt behavior. The results indicated that descriptive norms highly correlate with corrupt behavior--both when measured before (Study 1) or after (Study 2) the behavioral measure of corruption. Finally, we adopted an experimental design to investigate the causal effect of descriptive norms on corruption (Study 3). Corrupt behavior in the corruption game significantly drops when participants receive short anti-corruption descriptive norm primes prior to the game. These findings indicate that perceived descriptive norms can impact corrupt behavior and, possibly, could offer an explanation for inter-personal and inter-cultural variation in corrupt behavior in the real world. We discuss implications of these findings and draw avenues for future research.

No MeSH data available.