Friday, 4 September 2015

Is there Corruption in Your Genealogical Society?

Probably not, but as cooperation plays so significant a role in (mainly) volunteer organizations the finding that "human cooperative tendencies, and not merely greed, take part in shaping corruption" is worth noting.

This is the bottom line in a study The collaborative roots of corruption by Ori Weisela  and Shaul Shalvib published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

"Recent financial scandals highlight the devastating consequences of corruption. While much is known about individual immoral behavior, little is known about the collaborative roots of curruption. In a novel experimental paradigm, people could adhere to one of two competing moral norms: collaborate vs. be honest. Whereas collaborative settings may boost honesty due to increased observability, accountability, and reluctance to force others to become accomplices, we show that collaboration, particularly on equal terms, is inductive to the emergence of corruption. When partners' profits are not aligned, or when individuals complete a comparable task alone, corruption levels drop. These findings reveal a dark side of collaboration, suggesting that human cooperative tendencies, and not merely greed, take part in shaping corruption."
Via Deric's Mindblog

Typical Warning Signs:

Rumours of abuse.
Internal divisions within the organisation.
Power and decision-making are concentrated on one or few individuals.
People give different answers to the same question.
Reporting is delayed.
Financial reports are late.
Financial reports contain errors or are unclear.
Errors are explained as misunderstandings, and are corrected.
Budgets are unclear and perhaps only one person has the full overview.
Signatures are added to documents by photocopying.
The organisation does not make (or makes inadequate) annual reports.
Anonymous tips about misuse of funds or abuse of power.
It is difficult to get a clear picture of the organisational structure.
Board meetings are often cancelled.
There is insufficient sharing of roles in the handling of payments.
Key individuals are working very long hours - first in the morning and last out in the evening.
Key individuals never take holidays or days off, and thus never leave their responsibilities to others.
Individuals' private consumption seem to be above what their income would normally allow.


1 comment:

Leanne T said...

This is a great and surprising post, but oh, so useful and appropriate. I have witnessed non-profits in our area that were devastated by a dishonest volunteer or employee. So disheartening when you think of how many thousands of volunteer hours and donations others will contribute, to have the Society's hopes and dreams wiped out in only a season. Many of the warning signs were there. is amazing how long others will go along, taking sides, leveraging their trust in an individual, even when the evidence becomes bleaker and bleaker. This warning list is so eye opening! A good thing to pass along to board members.