When we think of corruption, we visualize a sleazy individual taking advantage of his or her position and power to exploit a situation for personal gain. This person does not moral standards, as compared to those who are honest and do not take bribes.

What if the good people who do not take bribes create the conditions for corruption to thrive? I’m talking of a segment of the good, namely, those who are honest but inefficient or ineffective. They are time servers, who turn up for work, log in their 8 hours, and collect their salary. If you end up sitting in front of one of them (provided you find the person in office), you would know what I mean. They will quote you a rule why they cannot do something you ask. The forms you have brought are incomplete, they say. In box 4, you need have entered the date format incorrectly. Too bad, you need to come again tomorrow because office is closing in 10 mins. You turn up the next day and find he is on leave.

You then look around and find the sleazy official who is sitting late in the office and appeal to him for help. Sure, he says, but it will cost you.

All organizations have these time servers, who do not see their job as more than a means to a salary. They do not understand the meaning of the world ‘service.’ They bring down the average performance of the department or organization significantly and create the conditions when those who know the right form to use, the right word format to use, and so on thrive. They stretch their hands below the table to be compensated for their additional services.

So, while we strive to control and punish the corrupt, we also need to focus on the honest but ineffective ones not to create the conditions for corruption.

1 Comment

  1. Trish Reply

    That’s a shrewd answer to a tricky quetison

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