Corruption in construction projects: Bibliometric analysis of global research

Zhao Zhai, Ming Shan, Amos Darko, Albert P.C. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Corruption has been identified as a major problem in construction projects. It can jeopardize the success of these projects. Consequently, corruption has garnered significant attention in the construction industry over the past two decades, and several studies on corruption in construction projects (CICP) have been conducted. Previous efforts to analyze and review this body of knowledge have been manual, qualitative and subjective, thus prone to bias and limited in the number of reviewed studies. There remains a lack of inclusive, quantitative, objective and computational analysis of global CICP research to inform future research, policy and practice. This study aims to address this lack by providing the first inclusive bibliometric study exploring the state-of-the-art of global CICP research. To this end, a quantitative and objective technique aided by CiteSpace was used to systematically and computationally analyze a large corpus of 542 studies retrieved from the Web of Science and published from 2000 to 2020. The findings revealed major and influential CICP research journals, persons, institutions, countries, references and areas of focus, as well as revealing how these interact with each other in research networks. This study contributes to the in-depth understanding of global research on CICP. By highlighting the principal research areas, gaps, emerging trends and directions, as well as patterns in CICP research, the findings could help researchers, practitioners and policy makers position their future CICP research and/or mitigation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4400
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2021


  • Bibliometric analysis
  • CiteSpace
  • Construction projects
  • Corruption
  • Knowledge map

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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