Soha Bou Chabke is a humanitarian worker who started her humanitarian journey as a volunteer at the Lebanese Red Cross organization on the first aid team. She occupied the position of country director at an international NGO operating in Lebanon, as program coordinator of IFRC, and at as an education specialist at two main UN agencies. She holds a Doctor in Business Administration degree from GEM. The focus of her research is corruption in humanitarian aid through a human resources lens.
Purpose: The aim of this research is to study the implications of the human resources management practices on corruption in Humanitarian aid as the phenomenon is still an understudied one (Akbar and Vujic, 2014, Mello and Quin 2015) and is considered to be a hot topic since the determinants of corruption from an individual perspective have been scarcely discussed in the non-profit sector (Epperly and Lee, 2015; Mohiuddin and Dulay, 2015).
Design/Methodology/Approach: Building upon a long experience in the humanitarian aid field, the author departs with an ontological journey leading the way to the identification of some factors which set the base for the studied phenomenon. Then she proceeds to adopting the Straussian grounded theory as a method, carefully choosing five case studies of corruption in the Lebanese context, and interviewing 30 respondents who have worked or still working in the concerned organizations.
Findings: The findings of this study could be classified into three main themes which appear to be linked to corruption in humanitarian aid: human resources administration weaknesses, the hard inter-subjective relations within the same agency in addition to the lack of inter/intra agency coordination mechanisms.
Research Limitations/implications: This study suffers from few limitations pertaining to the sensitivity of the context, to confidentiality issues, to retrospection in some cases, and to possible bias resulting from staff frustration. They were dealt with respectively through ensuring to interviewees utmost anonymity in publishing the results, through embedding in the interview guide several equivalent questions to avoid respondents’ bias, and through cross-checking answers of the respondents from within the same organization. This research lends itself to other studies across different geographical contexts, in a quantitative approach, to be able to generalize the results.
Practical implications: This research proposes a corruption preventive model which serves as a tool driving better human resources practices in humanitarian aid. The results suggest that corruption could be drastically attenuated through putting in place clear job descriptions with clear reporting lines, ensuring strict and transparent recruitment procedures, implementing efficient evaluation and reward system, enforcing ethics training, managing cultural differences between national and international staff and through reaching to effective coordination inside the same agency and across agencies to avoid duplicative and useless work.
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