Moral commitment predicts resistance to corruption, finds new research conducted by by a group of professors from ESSEC, Zeppelin University, and European University Viadrina. This research was published in the journal PLOS One.
Professor Stefan Linder (ESSEC) and his colleagues, Professor Carmen Tanner (Zeppelin University) and Professor Matthias Sohn (European University Viadrina) aimed to understand characteristics that lead some individuals to quickly adopt corrupt practices when faced with a corrupt environment in the workplace, while others appear to be more resistant to corruption.
Individuals are more likely to reject bribes when they are willingly committed to moral principles. The more they experience a sense of compromising their integrity, the less likely they are to accept a bribe. They see these moral values as ‘protected’ – not for sale.
This also means that individuals have a higher level of Honesty-Humility, meaning they have high levels of characteristics such as sincerity, fairness, greed avoidance, and modesty.
The first step of the research involved administering an online survey to assess demographic information and various personal values and characteristics. Approximately three weeks later, these 225 participants took part in a fully incentivised bribery game.
‘Shedding more light on why people differ in their susceptibility to engage in corruption not only promises to enhance our understanding of why we see within-company variations in corrupt behaviour, but also helps to refine policy recommendations,’ says Professor Linder.