24 January 2019
Leena Koni Hoffmann, Associate Fellow, Africa Programme at Chatham House, explains how surveying corruption practices exposes them as being driven by societal environment and often based on the available options and behaviours. She outlines why a lack of incentives to avoid corruption can increase the likelihood of it occurring, and that little research has been done into why corruption happens and what informs or influences the decisions behind it. The survey work undertaken by the Africa Programme’s Social Norms and Accountable Governance (SNAG) project is pioneering in this regard, and is showcasing why messaging around corruption is vital in tackling it. Driving a collective change in behaviour can be achieved through careful planning, developing and testing of small-scale interventions before scaling up.
Raj Patel, Consultant, Penn Social Norms Group (PennSONG), University of Pennsylvania, explains the importance of measuring institutionalized corruption before testing as social norms to see what factors drive behavioural patterns. Raj talks about how surveying social norms can expose assumptions among individuals that certain behaviours are widely accepted, whereas in reality acceptance is low. Challenging these false beliefs can hugely improve the impact of collective action in changing behaviour. He also outlines how societal change can happen quickly (within a single generation) because enough people’s values change at once or there is a realization that a majority within society feel the same way about certain behaviours.