Insider Accounts of Institutional Corruption: Examining the Social Organization of Unethical Behaviour
British Journal of Criminology, 2013, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp. 533-551, DOI:10.1093/bjc/azt013
Posted: 23 Apr 2013 Last revised: 27 Jul 2013
Date Written: 2013
Institutional corruption involves influences that implicitly or purposively serve to distort the independence of a professional in a position of trust. The concept brings into focus the everyday norms, practices and scripts of professional life that can systematically influence unethical behaviours. To make visible these often implicit influences, insider accounts are particularly valuable. This is demonstrated through an analysis of insider accounts by Jack Abramoff, the American lobbyist who was criminally charged in 2006. From these accounts, I develop a typology of techniques that perpetuate the social organization of institutional corruption in lobbying and Congress. More broadly, the institutional corruption concept provides an empirical pathway that can rejuvenate inquiries into the world of professional misconduct and unethical behaviour.
Keywords: institutional corruption, ethics, insider accounts, lobbying, Jack Abramoff, white-collar crime
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