Planning Corruption or Corrupting Planning? A Sub-Saharan Africa Perspective

Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah*, Vanessa Watson, Clifford Amoako, Wes Grooms, Davina Osei, Victor Osei Kwadwo, Andy Bonaventure Nyamekye, Kahad Adamu, Gabriel K. Appiah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Here we illuminate the often overlooked, yet pernicious impacts of corruption in planning. We used a sequential mixed-methods approach, inclusive of a survey of 82 planning practitioners in Ghana and semistructured interviews with 17 of these survey respondents, to investigate planners’ experiences of corruption. We found that incentives for corrupt behaviors, structured by the particularities of planning culture, are necessary but insufficient to unpack corruption in planning, both in and outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Personal values and coercion also play roles in incentivizing corruption. We also learned that practitioners rely on social coping mechanisms to resist corruption, which speaks broadly to practitioners monitoring themselves when institutional corruption controls seem weak or nonexistent within a planning culture. Further research across planning cultures is called for to develop planning curricula and practices that can help students and professional planners understand and resolve corruption and other moral dilemmas specific to their planning contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-391
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the American Planning Association
Issue number3
Early online date15 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2022


  • coercion
  • corruption
  • planning
  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • values

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