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Contribution Details

Type Journal Article
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title From compliance to progress: A sensemaking perspective on the governance of corruption
Organization Unit
  • Stefan Schembera
  • Patrick Haack
  • Andreas Scherer
Item Subtype Original Work
Refereed Yes
Status Published in final form
  • English
Journal Title Organization Science
Publisher Institute for Operations Research and the Management Science
Geographical Reach international
ISSN 1047-7039
Volume 34
Number 3
Page Range 1184 - 1215
Date 2023
Abstract Text The governance of corruption is increasingly important in a global business environment involving ever more frequent transactions across diverse institutional contexts. Previous scholarship has theorized a fundamental tension between the enforcement of organizational compliance and the achievement of social ends, finding that efforts to remedy policy-practice decoupling in the governance of corruption and other complex global issues can exacerbate means-ends decoupling. However, these studies have tended to apply a rather static lens to a highly evaluative and processual phenomenon, meaning we still lack in-depth understanding of the dynamics underlying the interactive communicative processes of sensemaking and negotiation involved in working out the problems of both means-ends and policy-practice decoupling across different institutional contexts. To address this gap, we present a longitudinal qualitative study of the governance of corruption that identifies the emergence of locally contingent and open-ended sensemaking processes arising from and surrounding problems of decoupling. Specifically, we identify four key sensemaking mechanisms across different contexts and periods that ultimately shifted the focus of the actors away from a compliance-based approach toward a new shared understanding of progress as achievement, i.e., the mechanisms of localized theorizing, leveling, recalibrating, and public criticizing. Based on these findings, we develop a model to explain the role of sensemaking in the governance of corruption and the dynamics of decoupling.
Free access at DOI
Digital Object Identifier 10.1287/orsc.2022.1614
Other Identification Number merlin-id:23478
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Keywords corruption, decoupling, deliberation, governance, organizational processes, qualitative research, sensemaking
Additional Information CC-BY-4.0