Youth’s role in combating corruption

Youth’s role in combating corruption

There is an epidemic of corruption in our society today. It is a problem in every aspect of our lives. There seems to be no one who has escaped corruption; everyone is affected. This corrupt behaviour undermines power and society as a whole. This rampant corruption needs to be checked immediately, or we will be left in a bind.

Combating corruption requires the involvement of youth. A youth brigade could be created to keep an eye on the offices and organize awareness campaigns concerning crime.

Using their voice, youth can convince people not to resort to corruption to achieve their goals. People should be discouraged from offering or accepting bribes from young people, and work will get done by itself without any money given.

People should be educated on various anti-corruption laws and the right to information always available when needed. Education is essential to ensure the security of our country. Their shoulders are heavy with responsibility.

Recently, the world has been rocked by corruption-related scandals and news. An essential UN body against corruption has been expelled from Guatemala by the country’s president. Before Romania took over the European Union Presidency, Romania’s anti-corruption chief stepped down.

A probe into Danske Bank money laundering and the bribery allegations regarding Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics is underway, and the Japanese Olympic Chief faces bribery allegations. 

Global youth do not feel hopeful about the future given these circumstances. In a survey conducted by the Accountability Lab in conjunction with the World Economic Forum, young people name corruption as their top challenge. The cost of corruption on society and the economy is high and reasonable.

The destruction of tax revenues decimates the resources for education, health care, and other necessities in those countries most affected. Companies and individuals pay over one trillion dollars worth of bribes each year, destabilizing trust and increasing inequality.

Having to deal with this is depressing. The tide is turning against this lack of integrity and accountability, and they have every reason to believe that 2019 will be the year. Change-makers across business, politics, the media, and civil society focus their understanding of global leadership on anti-corruption and accountability.

Global Shapers, the World Economic Forum’s youth network, presided for the first time at Davos 2019 to highlight this shift. A key topic of discussion was the accountability of global corporations for corruption and state capture in South Africa. Historically, young consumers have preferred to work for and shop at businesses that strive for social good. Now, more than ever, Global Shapers are leading the way on this front in the corporate world.

CEOs understand this. David Cruickshank, the former CEO of Deloitte, and Paul Polman, previously of Unilever, are leading the charge on ethical business issues. Many of the world’s largest corporations, including those in PAI, agreed at a recent World Economic Forum meeting that values-based organizations are not just better for the world. Value-based organizations are also more profitable long-term.

A new generation of political leaders and bureaucrats is pushing for more inclusive, transparent decision-making within the government. Syed Saddiq, a 27-year-old Malaysian minister of youth and sports who faces criticism for his callous criticism of elite kleptocracy, has not shied away from calling out the practices of elites.

Botswana Angry with unfair business practices, 32-year-old Bogolo Kenewendo is fighting back. Our Integrity Idol campaign aiming to recognize and promote high-quality bureaucrats found hundreds of young civil servants fighting corruption across the board, from ensuring fair justice at the local level to battling crime in the police.

Media coverage of youth activists is increasing rapidly, giving youth activists more power to set national and global accountability agendas. News-checking sites are being created by young people to combat false information; bloggers are pushing for openness and honesty in making decisions, and investigative journalists are exposing corrupt regimes and criminal networks.

Those in power find it more challenging to listen only to corrupt elites because of the proliferation of social media. 

The young media-makers who have shown themselves to be tech-savvy have demonstrated that they aren’t silent or weak and building collective voices for change.

There is finally a new wave of activists challenging outdated methods of fighting corruption. In addition to historical lessons from movements, theories of nonviolent action, and ethnographic approaches within specific contexts, these groups are agile and collaborative, not bureaucratic and competitive.

Coalitions such as Africans Rising effectively support people-powered activity in countries from Nigeria to Zimbabwe. Groups such as Libera are combating the mafia and promoting a culture of legality in Italy; Al Bawsala promotes transparency in Tunisia, and Africans Rising fights the mafia by spreading a culture of lawfulness.

In the global economy and politics, corruption remains one of the most significant obstacles. However, a new generation is devising innovative, collective approaches to fight back against it.

Corrupt practices cause the country to deteriorate and infect every level of government. In turn, poverty increases, and the country is unable to develop. Against corruption, the youth plays an essential role as the nation’s hope.

Integrity must be taught from a young age and attitudes towards the fight against corruption. The perceptions of young people in Indonesia regarding crime and innocence have not been studied or examined much, especially in the context of Indonesia. This study aimed to identify those views.

As part of developing a scale for corruption and integrity, we describe the first step (item generation). Youth in Indonesia were surveyed and interviewed in-depth. Children in Indonesia don’t understand the word integrity well, and half of those polled did not know what it meant.

Integrity is perceived by those who can speak for themselves as a virtue characterized by honesty. In Indonesia, corruption is considered a thief of rights, and one example of crime is those who take money from others.

Using all the research findings and the literature review on corruption and integrity, the next steps in developing the scale will include indicators for assessing corruption and integrity. (Blackwell et al., 2006, Yuan and Dong, 2006) have shown that individual values play an essential role in predicting individual behaviour.

This makes it possible to better understand societal and personal behaviour. Indonesian youths hold values such as mutual assistance, religion, democracy, kinship, and hospitality, according to research conducted by Sihombing (2014). In addition to western culture, religious fanaticism, selfishness, and corruption, that study also found that such factors are problematic current values among Indonesian youth.

The research focuses on corruption since it is such a significant issue across the globe (Hodgson & Jiang, 2007), especially in Indonesia, where it has become a national issue that continues to undermine the nation and many in the government (Harrison, 2007, Robertson-Snape, 1999). Indonesia sees an increase in corruption cases every year, with people involved at various levels.

Throughout people’s daily lives, corruption occurs and has an impact. It has been observed that public trust in government is severely affected by crime, especially among youth, which is the main reason why their interest in politics and government has declined (Buela, 2010, Tyas and Harmanto, 2014). How can youth be interested in fighting corruption if they don’t want to talk about it?

A nation is built on the strength of its youth. Their present attitude and behaviour will affect a nation’s life, but more importantly, they will become future leaders. The child who tolerate corruption, for example, are destroying nation-building since corruption is a cause of corruption.

Youth perceptions of corruption and integrity are scarce in research, especially in Indonesia (Transparency International Indonesia, 2012; Transparency International Indonesia, 2013).

Youth perception of corruption was the focus of this study. The research also sought to identify perceptions of integrity among young people. A lack of virtue may influence corrupt behaviour, so understand integrity and corruption.

Corruption and Youth

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According to Mohammed, Ismail, and Abu Bakar (2014), corruption indicates getting or giving something in connection with specific daily tasks not permitted by law or regulation. (Drury, Krieckhaus, & Lusztig, 2006) defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain. (To Drury et al., 2006), corruption is the act of misappropriating money and resources by bribery, favouritism, theft, and embezzlement.

Media communication in Indonesia, such as radio, TV, the Internet, and other social media, is often characterized by corruption. Media reports show that bribery is committed both by private and public actors, ranging from regional leaders to local government ministers to government officials.

Media coverage of corruption cases in Indonesia has caused Indonesia to be perceived as corrupt. Additionally, some Indonesians believe the country is in an emergency concerning corruption (Duppa, 2012; Virdhani, 2015).

Jokowi, the president of Indonesia, made a statement about corruption during a conversation with Indonesian citizens in Washington (10/26/2015). Among the hundreds of Governors, Regents, and Mayors jailed because of sin under Ratya’s administration, nine ministers, 19 governours, and two governors of Indonesia’s central bank have been named (Ratya, 2015).

Corrupt practice perception (CPI) is one measure of corruption. In the CPI, countries are ranked based on how evil they perceive their public sector to be, scoring between 0 and 100. When a country scores zero points, it is thought to be highly corrupt; when a country scores 100 points, it is believed to be very clean. Moreover, a country’s ranking signifies its position among the countries that constitute the index.

A corruption index score of 32 was recorded in Indonesia in 2012, 2013, and 2014, which indicates the government is corrupt. 

As a result of corruption, Indonesia’s government sector, private sector, non-governmental organizations, and individual interactions are all affected. Furthermore, corruption in Indonesia is a common problem, and it is a systemic problem with deep roots (Sittungkir, 2004).

Corruption in Indonesia is characterized by bribery, and the corrupting aspect of bribery is also widespread, especially when involving officials in government, law enforcement, or schools and universities. According to Quah (2011), bribery or gratification is not perceived as a crime in certain countries, such as Indonesia and Japan, the act of giving something is an expression of gratitude.

Based on a study conducted by Sihombing (2014) and Akbar (2011), corruption is not regarded as positive among Indonesians. Transparency International Indonesia (2012) and Transparency International Indonesia (2013) have noted that youth in Indonesia experienced corruption when dealing with police. For a traffic violation, they prefer to avoid going to court by bribery.

The Transparency International Indonesia, 2012 and 2012 reports also stated that young Indonesians encounter corruption when obtaining documents or permits (for instance, a driving license) or passing exams, and bribery may benefit businesses. According to these reports, youth perceive corruption as an internal problem, meaning that it is a problem for their families and friends and themselves.

Public corruption (affecting businesses, the economy, or country development) is not considered by these authors.

A significant attraction for Indonesians is corruption. The fight against corruption is one of the most powerful themes in a political campaign for many politicians. The Indonesian government established Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK, Corruption Eradication Commission) in 2003 to combat corruption in the country.

A prominent anti-corruption agency, KPK is known for its effectiveness. Integrity is the basis of integrity as a value and the foundation for individuals, organizations, and the nation. As a result, KPK offers an approach called Sistem Integritas Nasional (SIN, National Integrity System).


A quality, nature, or circumstance that indicates the cohesive whole so that it has the capability and potential to be honest, and dignified is integrity, according to the Indonesian dictionary (Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia: integrity). As well as being defined as the degree to which one adheres to sound moral and ethical principles (Colquitt, Scott, & LePine, 2007), integrity may also be defined as adherence to sound moral and ethical principles.

There is still considerable disagreement concerning the exact meaning of integrity (Barnard et al., 2008, McFall, 1987). A simple definition cannot accurately capture the phenomenon (Carbajal & Chavez, 2007), and its nature is unclear (Audi & Murphy, 2006). As bad character and quality of character (Carbajal & Chavez, 2007) are terms used by people to describe people with integrity (Audi & Murphy, 2006). For example, integrity has been used to symbolize fairness, consistency, and commitment (Colquitt et al., 2007).

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The characteristics of integrity have been studied in research. A person with integrity is described as a person with consistency (Barnard et al., 2008, McFall, 1987, Moorman and Grover, 2009), honesty (Barnard et al., 2008, Kaiser and Hogan, 2010, McFall, 1987, Ressurecion, 2012), responsibility (Barnard et al., 2008, Ressurecion, 2012), fairness (Barnard et al., 2008; Ressurrecion, 2012), trustworthiness (Barnard et al., 2008, Ressurecion, 2012), commitment (Audi and Murphy, 2006, Barnard et al., 2008, Carballo and Chavez, 2007), and enthusiasm (Ressurecion, 2012), and has good coherence between their message and their actions (Carbajal and Chavez, 2007, Kaiser and Hogan, 2010, McFall, 1987).

Research Methodology

A scale for evaluating integrity and corruption was developed in this study. Adcock and Collier, 2001; Churchill, 1979; Parasuraman et al., 2005; and Verbeke (2000) are the sources for developing the scale. First, prepare items, second, develop hierarchies, and third, evaluate rankings.

It is evident from Clark and Watson (1995) and Hinkin (1995) that the first step in creating a scale is item generation. Respondents are asked to elaborate on how they understand corruption and integrity at this step.

Item Generation

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As suggested by several researchers (Rowan and Wulff, 2007, Sendjaya, 2015), this study used a combination of inductive and deductive methods to develop perceptions of respondents toward corruption and integrity. From the theoretical definition are derived items from which the reasoned approach is drawn (Hinkin, 2005, Hinkin et al., 1997).

Hinkin (2005) points out that the deductive approach has the advantage of capturing the domain of interest. Alternatively, the inductive approach is based on responses from individuals by asking for the respondent’s opinion about established items (Hinkin, 2005). Hinkin also states that this approach is practical when the researcher has little to guide them.

In the present study, respondents were asked to fill out an open-ended questionnaire to express their views on several research concepts (integrity, corruption, values). This research uses open-ended questions for two primary purposes, and open-ended questions are one of the main ways exploratory analysis gathers data.

Second, it allows respondents to discuss any issue related to the question, as they can write about anything they wish.

Sample and Sampling Design

In this study, sampling homogeneity was considered. Students selected to represent youth were homogeneous regarding their age and education (Check & Schutt, 2012). Uniformity increases confidence in the sample’s representativeness in a specific research area.

The selection in this survey consists of individuals aged 16 to 21. As most undergraduate students are aged 16–21 years, the maximum age for this study was 21 years, even though Indonesian Law No. 4 of 2009 defines youth as those aged 16–30 years.

Using a convenience sampling approach, the data was collected from students at a private university in Tangerang, Indonesia. Approximately 500 open-ended questionnaires were mailed. A total of six male students were interviewed to find out how they perceived integrity and corruption.

(Mack, Woodsong, MacQueen, Guest, & Namey, 2005) determined the sample size based on resources and time available. Bahasa Indonesia was used in all six interviews. As an additional medium for respondents to express their opinions, a questionnaire containing similar questions to those asked in the interview. Transcribing each interview was done by the interviewer after it was taped.

After receiving open-ended responses, all responses were subjected to data analysis. Information about obtained values was presented using a frequency distribution.

Results and Discussion

Youth perceptions of integrity and corruption were the focus of this study. In-depth interviews were conducted with six participants using open-ended questionnaires. The response rate for the 454 questionnaires was 90.8 per cent.

An open-ended questionnaire asked participants about their perceptions of integrity. The purpose of this question was to ask respondents to write a sentence that outlines the definition of integrity. There were two categories of responses:

(1) Those that could define integrity, and

(2) Those that could not, based on their answers. According to those able to define integrity, it refers to several characteristics, including commitment, honesty, trustworthiness, and the coherence between principle and action. If an answer didn’t mention at least one of the characteristics of integrity, it was classified as not defining integrity. A majority of respondents (235 out of 517, 51.76%) do not know integrity.

Moreover, three of the six respondents were unable to define integrity adequately based on the results of the in-depth interviews. In particular, one respondent didn’t know what the word meant. According to two others, it has the following definition:

Integrity was the subject of the second question. While more than half of the respondents (n = 260) were unable to identify characteristics of integrity, 51.76 per cent (235 out of 454) could not define integrity. A total of 42.73 per cent (194 out of 454) of respondents were unable to identify one or more of the characteristics of integrity.

In the in-depth interviews, five out of six respondents named honesty, consistency, the ability to be trusted, and commitment as some of the main characteristics of integrity. Only one participant could not name an attribute of goodness, and a single aspect was explicitly listed, which was “thorough”.

As part of the third question, respondents were asked to explain how they define corruption. As a result, youths described corruption as “taking advantage of others for personal gain” or as “taking their money away from them”. One or two respondents also considered corruption to be embezzlement.

Further Discussion

In this study, we sought to understand youth perceptions regarding integrity and corruption. As perceptions influence attitudes and behaviours, it is essential to understand young people’s perceptions. Youth perceptions of innocence and corruption may be used to predict future behaviour.

Indonesian youths failed to define integrity correctly in the open-ended questionnaires, indicating that the word was unfamiliar. Considering that other words like corruption and politics are also common words among Indonesians, including young people, this is perhaps understandable. The researcher searched (an Indonesian newspaper) to identify how many articles contained specific words.

According to a Transparency International survey (2013), many Indonesian youths cannot define integrity. Yet they can identify behaviour that demonstrates integrity. Transparency International generally applies survey instruments that represent ethical and unethical behaviour to measure youth understanding of integrity, such as (1) rarely lies nor cheats so that people can trust them and (2) does not lie or cheat unless it is costly to themselves or their families. According to the respondents, integrity is essential to them.

In this study, the youth are young, educated, university-aged individuals 16–21 years of age. Integrity is not a concept that is dealt with daily if over half of the respondents cannot define it properly. Due to limited experience with integrity, they may not understand the concept. Families, neighbourhoods, societies, social media, and nations affect youth perceptions of integrity.

Learned behaviour is integrity. Integrity is being consistent and integrating the words and actions that one uses. This requires positive character traits that are based on ethical principles. Children learn integrity from their families. Television and the Internet are forms of communication that often emphasize corrupt behaviour and show examples of people acting without integrity.

Corruption and integrity go hand-in-hand—people with integrity exhibit positive traits such as honesty, responsibility, consistency, and commitment. Indonesian youth can identify the characteristics of integrity based on the current study results.

According to both the literature review and the results of the youth perceptions survey, integrity was defined as a combination of at least one positive characteristic, such as consistency, honesty, consistency between principle and action, responsibility, fairness, trustworthiness, commitment, respect, acknowledging responsibility, and assertiveness.

Honesty is often cited as one of the essential characteristics of integrity by the youths. Therefore, it can be said that children believe “an honest person” to be a person of integrity.

Respondents define corrupt behaviour as taking away others’ rights, and corruption involves taking advantage of others and taking their money for one’s benefit. Media outlets such as television and the Internet regularly suffer from degeneration, which usually results in increased wealth for the corrupted.


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Researchers and practitioners will be better able to understand the behaviour of young Indonesians, particularly in light of corruption, based on the results of this study. Indonesian youths aren’t familiar with integrity, despite understanding breakdown.

Therefore, learning about bribery and dealing with it must be accompanied by education that emphasizes integrity for the Indonesian government. All schools should provide open canteens as a practice of honesty for students, whether in elementary or high school. Further research on scale developments of integrity and perceptions on corruption could also be based on the findings.

Young people will shape the country’s future. Throughout many countries, youths will grow up to play important roles, such as future leaders and as a driving force for social change. Corruption has become a more severe social and political problem in recent years, especially as perpetrators have become younger.

On the other hand, young people are some of the most potent change agents when it comes to fighting corruption. Furthermore, youth can potentially change the political and social dynamics in the fight against corruption. Therefore, improving government and youth activities in reducing crime will depend on how youth perceive integrity and corruption.


Article Proofread & Published by Gauri Malhotra.

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