P33 From Intentions to Impact: Integrity antecedents and anti-corruption policies


Jean-Patrick Villeneuve: Professor and Director of the Institute of Communication and Public Policy (ICPP), Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI), Lugano, Switzerland. 

Lode De Waele: Assistant Professor at Utrecht School of Governance (USG), Utrecht University (UU), the Netherlands. 

Giulia Mugellini: Senior researcher and lecturer at the Institute of Communication and Public Policy (ICPP), Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI), Lugano, Switzerland. 

Kim Loyens: Associate professor at Utrecht School of Governance (USG), Utrecht University (UU), the Netherlands. 

Kristýna Bašná: Researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic. 

Eva Thomann: Professor of Public Administration at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz, Germany. 

Isabelle Caron: Professor of Public Administration at the School of Public Administration, Dalhousie University, Canada. 

Ian Bron: Adjunct professor at the  School of Public Policy & Administration, Carlton University, Canada. Email: 

Temístocles Murilo de Oliveira Júnior: Postdoctoral Researcher at the Army Command and General Staff College, Brazil.



Integrity is a key component of any well-functioning democratic institution. Under this umbrella, numerous concepts, tools, policies and mechanisms are mobilised to ensure optimal results and, in fine, a more robust, resilient and sustainable democratic system. Integrity has proven to be a persistent challenge within the public sector: (policy) efforts that have been carried out to increase integrity show rather mixed results (D’Alterio 2017). Integrity violations come with very high social costs, due to the undermining of the community’s sense of fairness and public trust in government organizations. Central values like equality and justice are indeed threatened as a result of corruption, favouritism or other misconduct by government officials (Gupta 2002; Graycar 2013; Zhang and Lavena 2015; Javor and Jancsics 2016; Liu et al. 2017; Weissmüller et al. 2022). This panel explores two distinct dynamics in this direction. One addresses the broader question of the antecedents of integrity and the other the more specific aspect of anti-corruption policies.

Antecedents of Integrity

Researchers who examine the origins of integrity issues traditionally use the following lenses (sometimes in combination) that respectively focus on (1) the institutional environment (that is assumed to be responsible for the integrity problem) (Navot et al. 2016), (2) the organization as the key driving force (Frost and Tischer 2014), or (3) individual personality traits that determine deviant behaviour (Bolino and Grant 2016; De Waele et al. 2021). Integrity issues thus have roots at the macro, meso and micro-level (Loyens & Maesschalck, 2010). However, in the scientific discourse, these levels live, by and large, separate lives in different disciplinary silos.

For example, in sociology, the importance of the institutional context for explaining integrity is emphasized; in contrast, in psychology, individual characteristics are examined as the key drivers of integrity. There is no sufficient empirical evidence for any of these lenses, nor an overall theory of integrity that combines them. Moreover, integrity management scholars agree that a combination of compliance and values-based measures is essential to increase integrity in organizations (Maesschalck & Bertók, 2009; Loyens, 2017). However, studies that analyse the effectiveness of these measures are scarce (Demmke, Paulini, Autioniemi & Lenner, 2020). These research gaps prevent the field from moving towards a more integrative approach. For this we are convinced that a multidisciplinary approach is needed, where quantitative and qualitative methods complement each other, combing statistical robustness with a more in-depth qualitative analysis on how integrity can be enhanced.

The aim of this section of the panel is to gain more insight in the antecedents of integrity violations and effects of integrity management on (un)ethical behaviour of public officials. Both conceptual and empirical contributions to the research-field are welcome. Integrity issues might include acts like nepotism, disinformation, conflicts of interest, bribery, cronyism, rule-breaking and unethical behaviour. We also welcome papers on whistleblowing and other ways of reporting on such integrity issues, as well as the effects of policy measures on integrity issues. Potential research-themes might be the following:

  • How do “mismatches” between international standards of integrity, rules of global regimes, and internal factors affect the integrity policies of national governments?
  • What are the key antecedents that shape (un)ethical behaviour of individuals working in the public sector?
  • How does the organizational culture and climate within the public sector influence the integrity of its employees?
  • To what extent do personal values align with the integrity exhibited by public sector professionals, and how does this alignment impact their ethical decision-making?
  • How do external factors such as political pressure, public scrutiny, and media influence the integrity of public sector organizations and their employees?
  • What are the effects of integrity breaches within the public sector, both in terms of public trust and organizational outcomes?
  • What is the impact of whistleblowing (or other types of reporting) on the development of integrity in the public sector?
  • How do different approaches to integrity management, such as compliance-based versus values-based approaches, affect the behaviour and attitudes of public sector employees?
  • What role does (ethical) leadership play in fostering and sustaining a culture of integrity within public sector organizations?
  • How do professional ethics codes and guidelines impact the integrity and ethical conduct of public sector professionals?
  • To what extent does integrity influence job satisfaction, commitment, and performance among employees in the public sector?
  • What strategies and interventions can be implemented to enhance integrity and ethical behaviour within the public sector?


In spite of the large number of anticorruption reforms implemented in different countries in the past decades, there has been little research that systematically classifies these efforts and empirically assesses their impact (Hanna et al., 2011; Johnsøn and Søreide, 2013; Mugellini et al., 2021). The first goal is to identify the main types of intervention developed in the public and private sector (within private companies) with the aim of deterring or preventing corruption and assessing their impact/effectiveness. In this way, strategies taken by both the demand and supply sides of the corrupt transaction are considered and assessed.

Three main theoretical paradigms are usually considered to differentiate anti-corruption policies: the economic paradigm rooted in the principal-agent model (RoseAckerman, 1978) and the cultural and the neo-institutional approach (Vannucci, 2015). Following the economic paradigm, deterrence is considered a way to increase the risks or costs of misbehaviours in rational and economic calculations (Klitgaard, 1988). Rewarding compliance with specific rules by providing positive incentives also belongs to this logic. The cultural and neo-institutional approaches do not consider the background or motives of the corrupt individuals but rather the environmental characteristics, structure, and culture of the organizations where public and private agents work or live, and the related group behaviours that might foster corruption (De Graaf, 2007), together with the institutional framework regulating social interactions. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods have been used to assess the impact of anti-corruption policies (Hanna 2011; Mugellini et al. 2021).

The second section of this panel welcomes any type of methodological approach that clearly specifies the type of information/data used and the methods through which they have been collected and analyzed. The following research questions are addressed:

  1. What are the main types of anti-corruption interventions developed in the public and private sectors?
  2. Do different types of interventions (e.g., economic, educational, organizational, legal, etc.) and their origin (internal or external) have different effects on the level of corruption?
  3. Does the effect of the interventions vary across public areas (e.g., health, education, etc.), the business sector of activity (e.g., construction, retail, etc.), or type or size of the institution/company?
  4. Does the effect of the interventions vary across high and lowincome countries?
  5. Does the effect of the interventions vary by type of corruption (e.g. bribery vs misappropriation of public resources; extortive vs collusive corruption)?
  6. What are the main methodological challenges in measuring the impact of anti-corruption policies?

Abstract proposals

Papers addressing the research questions presented in one of the two sections of this panel, at macro/regional and micro/local levels, are welcomed. Conceptual, empirical, and methodological papers from different disciplines are also accepted.

Paper proposals should be no more than one page long. The research problem and questions, and the methods and data/information used to address the topics presented above should be clearly stated. The scientific relevance of the contribution should also be highlighted.


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  • De Graaf, G. (2007). Causes of corruption: Towards a contextual theory of corruption. Public Administration Quarterly, 31(1–2), 39–86.
  • Demmke, C., Paulini, M., Autioniemi, J. & Lenner, F. (2020). The Effectiveness of Conflict of Interest Policies in the EU-Member States. Study requested by the JURI committee of the European Parliament.
  • De Waele L, Weißmüller KS and van Witteloostuijn A (2021) Bribery and the Role of Public Service Motivation and Social Value Orientation: A Multi-Site Experimental Study in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Front. Psychol. 12:655964. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.655964
  • Elisa D’Alterio, Integrity of the public sector and controls: A new challenge for global administrative law?, International Journal of Constitutional Law, Volume 15, Issue 4, October 2017, Pages 1013–1038, https://doi.org/10.1093/icon/mox077
  • Frost, Jetta; Tischer, Sarah. 2014. "Unmasking Collective Corruption: The Dynamics of Corrupt Routines." European Management Review 11 (3-4):191-207.
  • Graycar, Adam; Prenzler, Tim. 2013. Understanding and Preventing Corruption. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Gupta, Sanjeev; Davoodi, Hamid; Alonso-Terme, Rosa. 2002. "Does corruption affect income inequality and poverty?" Economics of Governance 3 (1):23-45.
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  • Javor, István, and David Jancsics. 2016. "The Role of Power in Organizational Corruption: An Empirical Study." Administration & Society 48 (5):527-558.
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  • Liu, Cheol; Moldogaziev, Tima T.; Mikesell, John L. 2017. "Corruption and State and Local Government Debt Expansion" Public Administration Review 77 (5):681-690.
  • Loyens, K., & Maesschalck, J. (2010). Toward a theoretical framework for ethical decision making of street-level bureaucracy: Existing models reconsidered. Administration & Society, 42(1), 66-100.
  • Loyens, K. (2017). Ethics and policing. A compliance and values based approach to police ethics research. In: Farazmand A. (Eds.), Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance. Springer.
  • Maesschalck, J., & Bertók, J. (2009). Towards a sound integrity framework: Instruments, processes, structures and conditions for implementation. Processes, Structures and Conditions for Implementation. OECD.
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  • Rosenbaum, D. P. (2016). Special issue on police integrity: An introduction. Policing: an International journal of police strategies & management, 39(2).
  • Vannucci, A. (2015). Three paradigms for the analysis of corruption. Labour & Law Issues, 1(2).
  • Weißmüller, K. S., De Waele, L., & van Witteloostuijn, A. (2022). Public Service Motivation and Prosocial Rule-Breaking: An International Vignettes Study in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. Review of Public Personnel Administration42(2), 258–286. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734371X20973441
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