Cultural Endorsement of Broad Leadership Prototypes and Wealth as Predictors of Corruption

Abstract

Corruption is a social ill that involves public officials’ misuse of entrusted power, which is a function of sociocultural factors. Rarely, however, do researchers view corruption as a leadership-related problem. In the current research, we conceptualize corruption as a leadership-related problem, and propose three broad leadership prototypes based on social value orientation theory and research. We seek to examine (1) how cultural endorsement of self-serving, prosocial, and individualistic leadership prototypes is related to corruption at the societal level and (2) how wealth moderates the relationship between cultural endorsement of self-serving leadership and corruption. Using archival data of 53 societies, we found that cultural endorsement of self-serving leadership was positively related to corruption, strengthened by wealth. Cultural endorsement of prosocial leadership and individualistic leadership, however, was not significantly related to corruption, and wealth did not moderate either of the relationships. The implications of these findings for theory and future research are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

We wish to thank Don Forsyth for his comments on an earlier version of the paper.

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Correspondence to Dejun Tony Kong.

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Kong, D.T., Volkema, R. Cultural Endorsement of Broad Leadership Prototypes and Wealth as Predictors of Corruption. Soc Indic Res 127, 139–152 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-015-0959-9

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Keywords

  • Corruption
  • Self-serving leadership
  • Prosocial leadership
  • Individualistic leadership
  • Wealth
  • GLOBE