Culture, Organizational Change and the Bounded Morality in the Hungarian Public Administration

This paper deals with the analysis of ethnographic data on public administration cases in Hungary. The main focus is on the perception that public administrators have of integrity challenges, how far these influence their daily tasks, the most relevant changes introduced at the government and policy level, as well as the socio-cultural explanations that are most commonly given in relation with the issue of corruption in the country. I have chosen to deal with the public administration in general because of three reasons. First, understanding the everyday work of public administration in a country is a complex task which, departing from the study of the organisational structure and its dynamics and expanding to the changes introduced at the policy level, it needs a nuanced and interdisciplinary approach. Nonetheless, I believe that through the innovative lens of the anthropological approach, it is possible to investigate some of these features through a bottom-up perspective that looks at ways how administrators perceive the main challenges, strengths and their changes in the field of integrity. Second, since corruption is a phenomenon that affects longitudinally all levels of the public service in a country (although to different extents), I consider that information gathered from different sectors in the public administration and analysed comparatively may provide a multifaceted and dynamic picture of the phenomenon. Finally, and due to the overarching nature of corruption that covers any field in which the public sphere meets the private, it can be useful to understand what are the common risks and the diverse challenges that any of the sectors under investigation are determined by, in the exercise of the public office.

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