Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Culture and Corruption in Afghanistan Public Sector

Economic theories of corruption mainly focus on how the public servants and private citizens maximize their interests through illegal approaches causing harm to society as a result. Based on these theories, when the people return to corruption are high, as a result of weak institutions, the consequences of detection are limited, people are more willing to act corruptly. In addition to this, because finding a partner whom to engage with in a corrupt transaction and running away from detection or punishment becomes easier due to increasing the proportion of the corrupt individuals.
Of course, these theories provide a basis for policy debates, but leave many questions unanswered; they provide no clues on what types of institutions are important to prevent corruption and what roles they should have to ensure this? Should the attention of government be limited to formal institutions, for example, those ones enforced by law and order? Or should the government more focus on social norms and values?
What has practically been proven is that organizational culture plays a significant role on determining the type of organizations decision making; e.g to pursue corrupt acts or incline transparency.
Afghanistan institutions have inherited a corrupt culture; a culture that roots in the historical context of the of Afghanistan governance system. The governance system of Afghanistan has been based on tribal norms and values; such norms and values do not consider all the people equal, and prefer their own tribal men to other people. Such a perception justifies unequal distribution of resources and opportunities. As a result, people who have limited access to the opportunities and resources seek to find other ways and means to access to these resources and opportunities denied to them by the corrupt public organizational structures.
Shaping a new public sector culture is time consuming and also requires a strong political will to bring fundamental changes in the sector. However, it is an issue that the international community has always put emphasis on it and the NUG has pledged to the international community that it will initiate systematic and structural changes in the public sector as well. But reforming the organizational culture and behavior, faces many challenges in the Afghanistan public sector that some are mentioned here.
Warlords are one of the main obstacles to reforming the public sector of Afghanistan. Warlords are in some key positions in the public sector institutions. These people have political and economic preferences in the corrupt culture of the public sector institutions; in some cases, they have some illegal militia that maintaining them require financial resources and the warlords support them financially through corrupt transactions.
Mafia of contractors, they are the corrupt warlords and politicians that either are in high ranking public offices or are supported by the warlords and some influential politicians in the country. They usually get contracts based on corrupt practices and provide very low quality services to the public institutions. Therefore, they usually are not executed and this encourages other public officers to engage in corrupt acts too.
Weak and unclear laws, policies and procedures, is one of the other major cause of corruption in the public offices as a legacy of corrupt organizational culture, established in the past to ensure the interests of a specific group of the people;  leading to preferring them to other people and ultimately undermining the economic development in a society. 
Organizational culture plays a vital role in shaping the organizational behavior of the employees and the public too. As a corrupt organizational culture sustain the corrupt behavior and practices in an organization, a transparent and accountable organizational culture ensures the transparent transactions and public servants accountability and corruption free behaviors; as a basic foundation to ensuring social justice and fostering economic development in the concerned society.