Organizational Anti-corruption: De-normalization Through Anxiety, Superego, Courage and Justice

  • Thomas Taro LennerforsEmail author


A major challenge for fighting corruption is our narrow conceptions about corruption and the lack of alternative, creative theorizations about both corruption and anti-corruption (Breit et al. in Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization 15: 319–336, 2015). This chapter responds to this challenge by discussing organizational corruption and anti-corruption in an alternative way. It reviews three different definitions of corruption and argues that corruption should be seen as the degeneration of a legitimate value. With this view of corruption, this chapter develops an anti-corruption framework by inverting Ashforth and Anand’s (Research in Organizational Behavior 25: 1–52, 2003) work on the normalization of corruption in organizations. The components of the framework are de-rationalization (producing alternative discourse and going beneath discourse), de-institutionalization (manipulating organizational memory and highlighting counterfactual corruption events) and de-socialization (excluding the personal and excluding the social). In the latter part, the chapter argues that one could relate to anti-corruption measures in any of four ways: anxiety, superego, courage and justice. It suggests that a balanced mix of these four subject positions is useful for fighting corruption.


Corruption Philosophy Rationalization Institutionalization Socialization 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Uppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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