Network corruption: when social capital becomes corrupted


The recent corruption scandals such as the FIFA case, the Volkswagen case or the News of the World International case led to intensive criminal investigations and while criminal acts were certainly to be found the bigger issues at stake was much more difficult to address: it concerned collective wrongdoing by informal social networks. In her research Willeke Slingerland has looked at the connection between networks and corruption and found that the same characteristics which make networks be the important social capital in our society, they also form a serious threat to the network’s deterioration. Willeke Slingerland looks at the norm development within groups and the blindness which this may lead to. In doing so, she distinguishes corrupt networks from network corruption. Recognising the role played by networks in the corruption cases at international, national and local level requires acknowledging networks as an actor in anti-corruption and integrity policies. This implies considering networks to be collectives which can be held collectively responsible.

Invited by Tina Søreide