Jolanta Palidauskaitė


Corruption is an old social phenomenon intrinsic to governments, individuals, organizations, and countries, both developed and developing. Despite sustained efforts of many states and international organizations to curb it, corruption as an ethical and legal problem still exists. The author aim at tackling the phenomena of corruption and responsibility not only at a theoretical level but also with attempts to model possibilities fighting corruption and increasing public servants responsibility.
Paper starts with proposition that media role informing the public about corrupt behaviour of elected and appointed officials are controversial in Lithuania as it creates the feeling of helplessness, mistrust, etc. Detailed analyses of various concept of corruption are provided together with conclusion on three developing tendencies trying to define this social phenomenon. 1) Term was expanded from seeking private towards organizational or group benefit from the corrupt deal (personal/group interests). 2) Attention of researchers and practitioners moved from solely public towards private, non-profit sectors as well (traditional/modern definition). 3) The context of the problem had changed together with globalisation and internationalisation processes (national/global). Political, administrative, private and international types of corruption are distinguished, naming several forms of corrupt conduct (bribe, misuse of official position, conflict of interest, etc.).
Social scientists approach the problem from two different methodological perspectives (moralistic and functional). Various researches suggest different theories trying to explain the corruption. Historical-cultural perspectives concentrate on political style and urbanization. Economists view the reasons of corruption in misbalance between demand and supply, estimating level of risk and possible benefit. Organizational settings and personal values approaches provide other two opportunities to view the corrupt behaviour.
Administrative corruption is influenced by the existing possibilities for public servant and personal inclinations to benefit from them. Public servant duties require following a number of ethical principles and values (disinterestedness, openness, transparency, impartiality, serving the public interest, responsibility and accountability, etc.) in their day-to-day operations. Meanwhile principles of consuming society, which public servants are also part of, encourage the use of rather different principles (seeking self interest, using the possibilities, etc.). Such opposing pressures (market versus public interest orientation) create internal conflicts, which have a rather high price.
Corruption has a negative impact of political, social-economical, cultural development of the society. Fighting corruption can’t be the end in itself. Transparency International founder J.Pope who stresses 3 important purposes provides the answer why such struggle is important: rule of law, higher life quality and conditions for societal development. Antipode of corruption can be the National Integrity System, which rest upon 11 elements. Favourable conditions (pay, incentives, labour relationship, etc.) for public servants activity, control and accountability mechanisms may increase their sensitivity towards unethical, corrupt practice. Legal and administrative responsibility may serve as preventive measure in public sector. Together with prevention, persecution, and anticorruption education are main directions fighting the corruption. To escape many negative consequences of corruption, government efforts should be shared and supported by the public and private sector.