01. May 2016

Strengthening the case for anti-corruption Collective Action through research

The private sector’s role in combating and preventing corruption continues to be essential and is widely recognized by government, civil society and companies themselves, with the spread of corporate anti-corruption compliance programs in recent years presenting a clear response to the acknowledged responsibility of the private sector. Whilst this is a positive development it is not enough to tackle corruption in particularly challenging markets and sectors. In this regard, Collective Action seeks to further level the playing field through applying concerted, cooperative strategies against corruption.

Private sector engagement however in anti-corruption Collective Action has yet to reach its full potential, and is frequently perceived as a new or emerging concept despite years of application and evolution in numerous multi-stakeholder approaches.

An oft-heard question remains: what is the business case for engagement? What are the benefits of anti-corruption Collective Action to the participants?

A better understanding and communication of these issues and greater application of empirical research-based arguments for Collective Action may help to better convince the private sector of its value. In addition, this may encourage greater government support and recognition of Collective Action. Academics, researchers and evaluation methods clearly have a role to play here.

Virna Di Palma of TRACE International addressed this topic previously on the International Centre for Collective Action (ICCA) Blog, underscoring the important role of research to improve anti-corruption strategies and policy recommendations. The research support basis for Collective Action will thus be an important topic at the upcoming Collective Action conference hosted by the Basel Institute’s ICCA on October 20-21 in Basel.

The conference, entitled “Collective Action: Evidence, Experience and Impact,” will address the latest in research and practice in Collective Action and business integrity, through a number of high-level panel discussions and interactive sessions that together aim to emphasise the business case for joint engagement against corruption. The preliminary agenda for this 1.5 day event and further information is available on the conference webpage. To support the research component, the ICCA is inviting papers from anti-corruption and compliance practitioners and academics (including graduate students), that assess and provide further insights into anti-corruption Collective Action evidence and impact (10,000 words maximum, excluding annexes). Papers selected for the conference will be published here on the B20 Collective Action Hub and made available to participants during the conference. In addition, authors selected for their work may be given the opportunity to present their paper during the conference and to publish their papers in the Basel Institute on Governance Working Paper Series.

Detailed submission requirements, thematic areas for papers and further information can be found on the conference website. Those interested in contributing a paper should send a 300 to 500 word abstract by 24 June, 2016, along with full contact information and institutional affiliation.

While many actors remain convinced of the validity of Collective Action, the more we know about how corruption operates and where cooperative solutions can most effectively and efficiently tackle it, the better we can tailor Collective Action approaches  that are relevant and to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, particularly the private sector.

Collective Action team at the Basel Institute on Governance