Public Organization Review

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 545–562 | Cite as

‘Strong Personalities’ and ‘Strong Institutions’ Mediated by a ‘Strong Third Force’: Thinking ‘Systems’ in Corruption Control



Corruption in public sector is a complex, ‘messy’ and ‘fuzzy’ phenomenon which involves calculus machinations between actors and constantly growing in sophistication. Consequently, an attempt to prevent, control or fight it requires systems thinking that ranges from public officials with integrity and personal ethics [strong personalities]; administrative rules and procedures as well as governments adopting, enforcing and monitoring appropriate systems [strong institutions]. This paper provides a systems approach to enhancing public sector ethics through ‘a corruption control tripod’ in preventing, controlling and combating corruption in all its forms. This framework discusses three overarching pillars and argues that adopting a reductionist approach in corruption control would yield futility; there is a need for synthesis so that each one would reinforce the other.


Corruption control Public sector Institutions Integrity Ethics Civil society 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public LeadershipStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

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