Forgetting corruption: unlearning the knowledge of corruption in the Indonesian public sector

Author:Hendi Yogi Prabowo, Jaka Sriyana, Muhammad Syamsudin
Position:Department of Accounting, Faculty of Economics, Islamic University of Indonesia, Sleman, Indonesia
Pages:28-56
SUMMARY

Purpose Based on the authors’ study, the main purpose of this paper is to ascertain a systematic long-term solution for the corruption problem in the Indonesian public sector from the knowledge management perspective. To achieve its objectives, this paper applies multiple perspectives and theories of corruption and knowledge management on the corruption problem in Indonesia. Design/methodology/approach This paper is based on the authors’ study to assess the corruption problem in the Indonesian public... (see full summary)

 
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Forgetting corruption: unlearning
the knowledge of corruption in the
Indonesian public sector
Hendi Yogi Prabowo
Department of Accounting, Faculty of Economics, Islamic University of Indonesia,
Sleman, Indonesia
Jaka Sriyana
Faculty of Economics, Islamic University of Indonesia, Sleman, Indonesia, and
Muhammad Syamsudin
Faculty of Law, Islamic University of Indonesia, Sleman, Indonesia
Abstract
Purpose Based on the authorsstudy, the main purpose of this paper is to ascertain a systematic long-
term solution for the corruption problem in the Indonesian public sectorfrom the knowledge management
perspective. To achieveits objectives, this paper applies multiple perspectivesand theories of corruption and
knowledgemanagement on the corruption problem in Indonesia.
Design/methodology/approach This paper is based on the authorsstudy to assess the corruption
problem in the Indonesian publicsector in the past decade through the examination of reports fromvarious
institutions and other relevantdocuments to highlight various behavioral issuesin knowledge management
in the Indonesianpublic sector and how they relate to corruption.
Findings The authors establish that a major factor behind corruptions ability to regenerate over
time in the Indonesian public sector is the fact that it has become part of knowledge conversion in
Indonesian public institutions for so long that removingit would be a very challenging task. To remove
corruption from Indonesian public institutions is to remove it from the existing knowledge conversion
spiral within these institutions by means of organizational unlearning and re-learning. The primary
focus of the unlearning and re-learning process should be to eliminate the knowledge of corruption, in
both tacit and explicit forms, and replace it with the knowledge of good governance, accountability and
integrity. Through systematic organizational unlearning and re-learning along with other more
repressive measures, the risk of corruption in public institutions in Indonesia will gradually diminish
over time.
Research limitations/implications This study is relying on documentary analysis to highlight
the trend in behavioral problems in relation to knowledge conversion in the Indonesian public sector.
Future studies should incorporate interviews with corruption offenders and local leaders to gain a more
accurate view of how knowledge conversion plays its role in the growth and regeneration of corruption
in the Indonesian public sector.
Practical implications This paper contributesto the development of corruption eradicationstrategy by
proposing a framework for systematically removing corruption knowledgefrom an organization. With this,
framework resources can be allocatedmore effectively and efciently to achieve the objectives of corruption
prevention.
Originality/value This paper highlights the importance of behavior-oriented approaches in mitigating
corruptionin the Indonesian public sector.
Keywords Indonesia, Knowledge management, Corruption, Explicit knowledge, Tacit knowledge,
Knowledge conversion
Paper type Research paper
JFC
25,1
28
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.25 No. 1, 2018
pp. 28-56
© Emerald Publishing Limited
1359-0790
DOI 10.1108/JFC-07-2016-0048
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/1359-0790.htm
Introduction
As a multidimensional problem, corruption represents serious political, economic and moral
issues in multiple countries and is considered as a cost for growth and development
(Kreikebaum, 2008, p. 82). Generally depicted as misuse of public ofce for personal benets,
from the behavioral perspective, corruption is often considered as the transgressions of deeply
held norms, beliefs and ideals that emotionally offend anything straying from societys
expectations (Caiden, 2013, p. 93). Historically speaking, the rise, decline and collapse of
societies are believed to be partly attributed to the resolution of corruption (Al Zadjali and
Wright, 2012, p. 34). Inefciency caused by corruption has caused the deterioration of the
quality of services delivered by public institutions to the people (Buscaglia and Dakolias, 1998,
p. 95). Also, with corruption deeply rooted within the structure and culture of many countries, it
will be impossible for development and prosperity to take place without successful anti-
corruption initiatives. Multiple dimensions of corruption have been the subject of various
studies and analysis by experts, analysts and public authorities (Matei and Matei, 2011,p.23).
Such studies and analysis aimed at, among other things, understanding the effects of
corruption on the social and economic development to develop effective anti-corruption
strategies (Matei and Matei, 2011, p. 23). Nevertheless, despite the existing studies on
corruption, Al Zadjali and Wright (2012, p. 34) argued that they are mostly unable to provide a
basis to contain, control or even reliably identify corruption, in particular, because of the fact
that they emphasize more on extant denition rather than the development of a rst-principles
understanding of corruptions fundamental nature.
The complexity and the elusive nature of corruption have made it difcult for many
countries to properly address the problem. Factors such as insufcient legislation, weak
enforcement, weak democracy, lack of transparency and accountability, wide authority
given to public ofcials, absence of effective checks and balances and perverse incentives
(United Nations Ofce on Drugs and Crime, 2012) have been the focus of various anti-
corruption initiatives all around the world. However, evidence suggests that behavioral
factors also play an important role in causing rampant corruption problem in the world.
Ignorance of these factors may lead to failures in achieving the objectives of corruption
eradication strategies.
In Indonesia, corruptionhas been a major problem for decades. It robs the economy of its
competitiveness and effectiveness, as well as erodes public trust in government
(Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, 2015). Many observers view
the signicant economic impact of corruption to Indonesia as Southeast Asias largest
economy as also impacting regional and international economies (e.g. corruption in public
sector may hamper foreigndirect investment) (Organization for Economic Co-Operationand
Development, 2015). Since the fallof the New Order regime in 1998, the Reformation era has
been characterized by efforts to take down the previous regimes corrupt political
foundations built on corruption,collusion and nepotism. Most notable is the issuance of anti-
corruption laws and the establishment of an independent anti-corruption agency, the
Corruption Eradication Commission(KPK). However, after nearly two decades since the fall
of Suharto, at least referring to KPKs statistics, Indonesia still does not quiteknow how to
effectively eradicatecorruption.
This paper approaches the issue of corruption from a unique perspective of knowledge
management, by viewing it as a product of a learningprocess within the Indonesian public
sector[1]. By complementing the differential association theory with the knowledge
management theory, this paper seeks to formulate a framework of systematic corruption
unlearning. The data for this study werecollected by means of documentary analysis on the
trend in corruptioncases and anti-corruption initiatives in Indonesia.
Unlearning the
knowledge of
corruption
29

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