An Empirical Study on Construction Process Corruption Susceptibility: A Vignette of International Expertise

  • Emmanuel Kingsford OwusuEmail author
  • Albert P. C. Chan
  • Ming Shan
  • Erika Pärn
Original Research


Construction process stages are argued to be vulnerable to the prevalence of corrupt practices. However, the validity of this argument has not been empirically explored in the extant literature of construction management. Therefore, this study examines the stages of the construction process susceptibility to corruption and its most prominent forms of corrupt activities (within the respective stages). A total of forty-four project-related professionals were involved in an expert survey to assess such susceptibilities and the criticality of the identified corrupt activities at each stage. A comparative study of expert views from developing regions against experts from developed regions is conducted. Expert scoring results revealed that three stages are most susceptible, namely: project execution, pre-qualification and tender stages. Such results were confirmed by application of the Mann–Whitney U test statistics tool, showing wide disparities in seven out of eleven identical stages. This study is intended to incite polemic discussions and greater empirical, evidence-based research from scholars in both developed and developing countries. This study adds to the extant literature corruption-related works on the construction process through deeper understanding of the dynamic nature of corrupt practices involved in the stages of the construction process in developing countries. Practically, it intends to offer a veritable plethora of information on the critical stages of the construction process for industry practitioners, policymakers and anti-corruption bodies to careen their attention towards the fight against corruption.


Construction management Corruption Susceptibility International survey 



This paper forms part of a research project entitled “Dynamic Evaluation of Corruption in Public Infrastructure Procurement: A Comparative Study of Emerging and Established Economies,” from which other deliverables have been produced with different objectives but sharing some levels of commonalities. We express our sincere gratitude to the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong and to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University for funding this study. We are grateful to the industrial and academic experts involved in this study for the invaluable input, support and motivations (for both pilot study and the main survey). Lastly, the authors are extremely grateful to all the anonymous reviewers for providing constructive comments to enhance the quality of this paper.

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 Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Building and Real EstateThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityKowloonHong Kong
  2. 2.School of Civil EngineeringCentral South UniversityChangsha ShiChina
  3. 3.School of the Built Environment, City Centre CampusBirmingham City UniversityBirminghamUK

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