Original Research

The scope for mobilising public opinion against corruption: The attitudes of KwaZulu-Natal university students

Geoff Harris, Alexander Dawid Van der Merwe
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 15, No 3 | a301 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v15i3.301 | © 2012 Geoff Harris, Alexander Dawid Van der Merwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 September 2011 | Published: 22 August 2012

About the author(s)

Geoff Harris, Durban University of Technology, South Africa
Alexander Dawid Van der Merwe, Durban University of Technology, South Africa

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The aim of this study is to ascertain perceptions of public sector corruption that university students, as potentially influential members of society, hold. The study is based on a purposive sample of 509 first- and second-year university students. Descriptive and non-parametric bivariate analysis suggests that students overwhelmingly regard public sector corruption as an important issue. In addition, there appear to be remarkable degrees of consensus as to what actions are perceived as corrupt even if there is evidence of mismatches between students’ beliefs and likely actions. At least some of this dissonance may be explained by the finding that respondents' corruption perceptions are biased by gender and ethnicity. These are challenges that programmes aimed at inspiring mass public opinion to join the fight against corruption may have to address.


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