Verbal operants of corruption: A study of avoidance in corruption behavior


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Behaviorists for social Responsibility

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Corruption is illegal and universally shameful. Persons who engage in corrupt practices tend to be discreet. This study offers an analysis of metaphors in corruption lan guage based on positive and avoidance contingencies of reinforcement. Our dat a show that parties to corrupt practices use expressions that accentuate this discreet behavior, whether demanding or offering bribes. Our findings indicate that corruption language can be topographically similar to other verbal utterances, but functionall y different when understood in context. Both officials and clients use metaphors to avoid prosecution and social embarrassment. The verbal behavior of the public servant is positively reinforced because he gets a bribe, and the verbal behavior of the clien t is positively reinforced because he/she receives service or favorable answer to application promptly. However, the payment of money denotes punishment.



© Tete Kobla Agbota, Ingunn Sandaker, & Gunnar Ree. Readers of this article may copy it without the copyright owner’s permission, if the author and publisher are acknowledged in the copy and the copy is used for educational, not-for-profit purposes. doi: 10.5210/bsi.v.24i0.5864

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