Exploring a Public Interest Definition of Corruption: Public Private Partnerships in Socialist Asia

  • John GillespieEmail author
  • Thang Van Nguyen
  • Hung Vu Nguyen
  • Canh Quang Le
Original Paper


As conventionally understood, corruption relies on a set of universally agreed rules that determine what constitutes the appropriate allocation of organizational resources. This article explores whether rule-based approaches to corruption are applicable where business organizations, such as public private partnerships (PPPs), and the public fundamentally disagree about what constitutes an appropriate allocation of resources. Drawing on empirical research about PPPs in Vietnam, this article compares how government, business organizations, and the public conceptualize the transfer of public assets into private ownership. It argues that a public interest approach to corruption is needed where PPPs privatize public assets within the law, but against the express wishes of the public.


Anti-corruption regulation Public private partnerships Public trust corruption Socialist transitional societies Vietnam 



This study was funded by a research grant in 2016 from the United Nations Development Program, Vietnam.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the researchers’ institution, and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Gillespie
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thang Van Nguyen
    • 2
  • Hung Vu Nguyen
    • 3
  • Canh Quang Le
    • 2
  1. 1.Monash Business SchoolMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Asia Pacific Institute of ManagementNational Economics UniversityHanoiVietnam
  3. 3.Institute for Population and Social StudiesNational Economics UniversityHanoiVietnam

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