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Trust deficit and anti-corruption initiatives

Adelopo, Ismail; Rufai, Ibrahim


Ibrahim Rufai


This study explores the ways in which trust deficit undermines anti-corruption initiatives in a context with systemic corruption. Anti-corruption measures as panacea to systemic corruption are not new, but their effectiveness is debatable. Whilst understanding the causal relationship between corruption and trust remains germane to fighting corruption, a growing number of recent studies advocate better context sensitivity in developing anti-corruption initiatives. Consistent with this, we unpack the perceptions of a significant section of the population in which corruption is rampant to identify factors that could enhance trust in the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures. Using commentaries from Nigerian Netizens on two critical corruption incidents that are significant to corporations, we uncover poignant narratives of perception of incompetence, dishonesty and confusion that undermine the anti-corruption measures in the context. We argue that donors, international organisations and businesses must encourage and support beneficiaries’ governments to secure and sustain trust in the anti-corruption initiatives as a condition for better results.


Adelopo, I., & Rufai, I. (2020). Trust deficit and anti-corruption initiatives. Journal of Business Ethics, 163, 429-449.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 1, 2018
Online Publication Date Nov 12, 2018
Publication Date May 1, 2020
Deposit Date Nov 5, 2018
Publicly Available Date Nov 13, 2019
Journal Journal of Business Ethics
Print ISSN 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN 1573-0697
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 163
Pages 429-449
Keywords corruption, anti-corruption, trust, Netizens, Nigeria, commentaries, Internet
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : The final publication is available at Springer via


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