Understanding grand and petty corruption: A case study of Slovak health care

Cimova, Kristina (2021) Understanding grand and petty corruption: A case study of Slovak health care. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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INTRODUCTION: As one of the more elusive social phenomena, corruption is notoriously difficult to investigate or measure, due to its clandestine nature. Within this work, corruption is conceptualised and addressed by focusing on sociological elements of cultural pressure, learnt behaviour, historical perspectives, and Central European regional idiosyncrasies of post-communist practices, all impacting on modern corrupt practices.

METHODS: This thesis examines the applicability of the ‘grand’ and ‘petty’ corruption distinction to a real-life understanding of corruption by qualitatively analysing the data collected during fieldwork in Slovakia. The main research question addressed reads as follows: To what extent is the theoretical difference between grand and petty corruption reflected in the real-life understanding of corruption in Slovakia’s health care? Interviews and focus groups are analysed in the work using thematic and textual analysis, and utilising the NVivo12 software to identify trends and commonalities in regard to views of the prevalence, mechanisms, and barriers associated with corruption. The empirical part of the work is centred around the interpretivist approach to data analysis, emphasising the relevance and indispensability of the participants’ natural narrative in their real-life understanding of corruption, shaped by experience, rather than theory.

RESULTS: The research demonstrates the shortcomings in corruption scholarship so far with regards to classification, measurement, and presentation of data. The existing bias towards economic and financial angles of corruption investigation is mitigated by applying a qualitative research design, focused on language and understanding. The research identified cultural nuances of acceptance of gift-giving, and the prevalence of corruption brokerage in everyday corruption in Slovakia. The roles of trust, fear, communist legacies, and networks in day-to-day corruption instigation, and deterrence in corruption reporting, are presented as instrumental in promoting corrupt practice in the Slovak health care sector.

CONCLUSION: The thesis concludes that the labels of grand and petty corruption apply to real-life understanding only marginally and that all theoretical terminology relating to corruption disaggregation should be verified in similar research designs, with emphasis on qualitative data analysis. Such analysis is upheld as able to encompass complexity of corruption understanding, inclusive of regional specificities and circumstances. Specific recommendations on incorporating real-life language and understanding are made regarding policy and legislation changes in Slovakia, as well as transparency of language within healthcare insurance re-drafting, and healthcare professional oversight.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
Supervisor's Name: Butler McIntosh, Dr. Eamonn and Florea, Dr. Adrian
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82480
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2021 11:35
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2021 11:36
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82480
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82480

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