The four primary characteristics of a group are:
- Shared Identity,
- Shared Purposes,
- Shared intention to survive as a group into the future, and
- Willingness to defend the identity and purposes of the group.
Each of these characteristics varies by individual group member, but they must all be present with sufficient strength or the group ceases to exist as a group. Corruption attacks one or more of those characteristics to cause the degradation of the group.
I have discussed these characteristics in part II of the YouTube Video “What is Anticorruption?”
What is interesting is how often these characteristics are ignored during recruiting and interviewing.
The result, of course, is instantaneously weakening of the organization by creating a portion of the organization that is going in a different direction.
One way to prevent corruption in an organization is to include a series of questions that touch on the four components described above.
Examples of Questions Related to Organizational Corruption
- How do you see your identity/who you are and how that fits with our organization?
- Describe how you represent the character of our organization.
- Describe how who you are fit with your last employer. (For two or more jobs.)
- What purposes of our organization interest you the most?
- Describe how your personal goals and purposes fit with our organization?
Intent to Survive Into the Future as a Group
- What is your typical (or ideal) length of time with an organization and why? Would you like that to change?
Willingness to defend the identity and purposes of the group
- Tell me about a time that one of your employers was being criticized and you expressed disagreement with the speaker. Did you say something? Did you get in an argument? Did you indicate your disagreement in some way?
- Suppose that you were working for a company you were unhappy with, and are with some people that are complaining about the company. How would you handle that?
- Tell me about a time you did something like that.
Evaluating the Answers
The questions above are offered to stimulate your thinking about questions that may be appropriate to your organization. However, if you were to evaluate the answers related to the four components on a 0-100 scale, you might identify significant patterns that could help you with hiring.
Let’s take Bob, Jane and Sam.
Looking at the three imaginary candidates above, it could be easily concluded that Candidates Jane and Sam appear to be much more likely to support the organization, and that Bob should probably be dropped from the list.
Of course, people will attempt to match your expectations, and this cannot be a sole indicator of suitability for hiring.
Where hiring officials ignore these important group components and hire on the basis of “he’s a good guy” or even “he’s a smart guy,” they are likely to have an employee that at best is simply there to be “fed” and at worst is there for other purposes altogether will not be helping advance the purposes of the organization.
Unfortunately, there are many professional fields where the organization is designed to have very little longevity, relying on the idea that they can purchase loyalty and commitment to goals. Essentially, this is similar to asking temporary workers to give their loyalty to the purposes and long-term survival of the company.
Naturally, that is silly and ignores the fact that a person will give his loyalty to those that are committed to his long-term survival over those who seek to buy his loyalty for the short term.
The major decision that needs to occur is whether it is in the interest of the organization to hire someone whose loyalties and commitment are elsewhere.
Working in Foreign Countries
These principles regularly cause problems for companies working in foreign environments. Locally hired employees may not be likely to see you and your company as committed to their long-term survival.
I’ll write more on this problem in the near future.
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You can see more about the impact of the four characteristics of a group in “What is Anticorruption?”