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Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 1–31 | Cite as

Causal Factors of Corruption in Construction Project Management: An Overview

  • Emmanuel Kingsford OwusuEmail author
  • Albert P. C. Chan
  • Ming Shan
Review Paper

Abstract

The development of efficient and strategic anti-corruption measures can be better achieved if a deeper understanding and identification of the causes of corruption are established. Over the past years, many studies have been devoted to the research of corruption in construction management (CM). This has resulted in a significant increase in the body of knowledge on the subject matter, including the causative factors triggering these corrupt practices. However, an apropos systematic assessment of both past and current studies on the subject matter which is needful for the future endeavor is lacking. Moreover, there is an absence of unified view of the causative factors of corruption identified in construction project management (CPM). This paper, therefore, presents a comprehensive review of the causes of corruption from selected articles in recognized construction management journals to address the mentioned gaps. A total number of 44 causes of corruption were identified from 37 publications and analyzed in terms of existing causal factors of corruption, annual trend of publications and the thematic categorization of the identified variables. The most identifiable causes were over close relationships, poor professional ethical standards, negative industrial and working conditions, negative role models and inadequate sanctions. A conceptual framework of causes of corruption was established, after categorizing the 44 variables into five unique categories. In descending order, the five constructs are Psychosocial-Specific Causes, Organizational-Specific Causes, Regulatory-Specific Causes, Project-Specific Causes and Statutory-Specific Causes. This study extends the current literature of corruption research in construction management and contributes to a deepened understanding of the causal instigators of corruption identified in CPM. The findings from this study provide valuable information and extended knowledge to industry practitioners and policymakers as well as anti-corruption agencies in the formulation and direction of anti-corruption measures. To corruption researchers in CM, this study is vital for further research.

Keywords

Corruption Construction Project management Cultural dimensions 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors are thankful to the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (Hong Kong Ph.D. Fellowship Scheme) and to the Department of Building and Real Estate of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University for funding this research. The authors are very grateful to the anonymous reviewers for providing constructive comments to enhance the quality of this paper.

Funding

The authors are very thankful to the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong through the Hong Kong Ph.D. Fellowship Scheme and to the Department of Building and Real Estate of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University for funding this research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors confirm that the authors of this paper have no conflicts of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emmanuel Kingsford Owusu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Albert P. C. Chan
    • 1
  • Ming Shan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Building and Real EstateThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung Hom, KowloonHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of BuildingNational Univ. of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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