Feasible Options

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Those in positions of influence in organisations are experienced in making judgements, usually with incomplete information and often between unappealing choices. But our experience is that many decision-makers feel much less at home when making judgements about corruption-related issues.

You can test for the most prospective approach through a two-step exercise. First, setting out combinations of the broad framing and possible detailed actions, which we call feasible options then – later – challenging the merits and drawbacks of each through a series of  lenses.

Feasible Options and The SFRA Matrix

We use the term ‘feasible options’ to mean those combinations of broad framing and the possible specific measures which you think could work. In Remediation we put forward eight possible broad approaches, and worked through eight different categories of specific remedial measures, with multiple examples of each. The combinations can be represented on a sort of chessboard – an eight by eight matrix – as shown below. Reviewing the options both as overall approaches and as specific measures simultaneously allows for more better debate on how best to proceed.


The two levels do, of course, sometimes overlap. For example, even though a wide range of specific measures can be identified in response to the individual corruption issues, the context may mean that only a few low profile reforms can be considered. Conversely, specific integrity-building measures may form the bulk of an overall approach that stresses the importance of integrity

Examples: Bulgaria, Burundi, Georgia, Greece

Past reform strategies can be re-imagined using this matrix, as in these earlier examples placed on the SFRA diagram – below

 Georgia’s early anti-corruption strategy in 2004 can be re-imagined as entailing rapid, intensive, action concentrated on major functional change in the key sectors of policing and education (G-Pol and G-Edu).

Defence reforms in Bulgaria 2012 followed a broad-based approach using functional reforms,  though they did not succeed (here, here).  Reforms in the Burundi defence sector, on the other hand, were narrowly focused on greater defence budget transparency (Bul-Def).

An exercise by Greece in 2018 (discussed here) to address corruption issues in the health sector proposed a two-part strategy: changes that citizens would see and gain hope from, combined with more fundamental functional changes undertaken in a low-profile way (Gr-Hlth).

The diagram can also be used to situate internationally proposed reform strategies, like OECD‘s Integrity framework

Note that the two axes are rarely mutually exclusive. For example, even though a wide range of specific measures can be identified in response to the individual corruption issues, the context may mean that only a few low-profile reforms can be considered. Conversely, as with the OECD recommendation, specific integrity-building measures may form the bulk of a broad framing that stresses the importance of integrity.

Place your options on the SFRA Matrix – promotes discussion

The SFRA matrix is simple enough that you can have a group discussion about the merits of different options, yet sophisticated enough to allow discussion of both the detailed measures and the broad framing at the same time.

NOT ‘best practices’

Working with the SFRA matrix has a further benefit, in that it keeps the discussion away from the ‘best practices’ dogma, which has been one of those trite clichés in the anti-corruption world for too long. The point, at this level of strategy, is not whether a particular measure or approach is ‘best practice’ or not; the point is whether the group judges that these are the right sort of measures and approaches in these circumstances.

Moreover, it is helpful for flagging up the importance of understanding trade-offs between alternative policy interventions in order to avoid unintended consequences.


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