A users' perspective on corruption: SMEs in the hospitality sector in Kenya

Paul van den Berg*, Niels Noorderhaven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
223 Downloads (Pure)


Although the phenomenon of corruption has been studied intensively, most studies focus on causes and effects of corruption at the societal level. There is a dearth of studies looking at what corruption means to individual actors. This article investigates how managers of small and medium-sized enterprises in the hospitality industry in Lamu, Kenya engage in and cope with corruption. Our findings suggest an approach that models corruption choices as rational individual decisions is likely to fall short, as corruption-related costs and benefits depend on group membership, which for some (but not for all) to a certain extent is a decision variable itself. Our study shows that 'on the ground' corruption is a complex phenomenon that can only be fully understood by taking the particularities of the social context into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-132
Number of pages19
JournalAfrican Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016


  • hospitality industry
  • corruption
  • Kenya
  • small and medium-sized enterprises


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