Brian Connelly, Deniz Ones


Even though corruption continues to mar economic progression, worker enthusiasm, and societies’ moral constitution, most studies of corruption have been confined to the fields of economics and political science. However, psychological variables, such as personality and cultural values, are likely to be relevant to studying corruption. In the present study of 62 countries, we examined how national averages on the Big Three personality traits, a measure of social desirability, and Hofstede’s cultural dimensions relate to perceptions of a nation’s level of corruption. The Big Three personality traits showed modest relationships with corruption. However, national averages on a social desirability measure were strongly and positivel correlated with corruption, suggesting that national dishonesty in responding to personality items is related to national dishonesty in corruption. In addition, the discrete, combined, and unique effects of personality and culture on corruption were compared. The findings suggest that both cultural values and personality have relevance for understanding corruption. As globalization continues to promote the exchange of cultural values and the assimilation of both individuals and organizations into new cultures, these findings highlight the need for I/O psychologists to be attentive to both culture and personality in designing human resource systems.


corruption; cultural variables; psychological variables; Big Three

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