Transparency International in search of a constituency: the franchising of the global anticorruption movement
Author(s)De Sousa, Luis
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AbstractThe post-Cold War political map displays three major developments, which deserve close attention: the global expansion of democracy; the growth and changing nature of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs); and the evolution of corruption and anticorruption from a non-issue into a global concern at all levels of decision-making. Linking all three developments is the birth of a new anticorruption actor in May 1993: Transparency International (TI), a nongovernmental organisation (NGO) based in Berlin whose mission was recently redefined as ‘to work to create change towards a world free of corruption’. Although the global anticorruption movement is wider than TI, this NGO has gained the reputation of the most prominent civil society “corruption fighter” at the global level. Despite frequent references to its local constituencies and bottom-up approach to internal governance, TI is not a typical grass-root NGO. It was founded by a group of high profile people, “grey suits”, from international organisations. In less than a decade, TI has moved from being a tiny “briefcase” NGO to become a franchised and complex organisation: it comprises approximately 90 National Chapters of a variable size and nature. TI had to look downwards in search of national constituencies where most of the anticorruption instruments it battled for at the international level need to be ratified, implemented and evaluated. The purpose of this paper is to assess the process of franchising of Transparency International, the implications it had upon its internal governance and the variations that can be found across its constituent parts, the National Chapters.