Paul Dieppe of the University of Bristol attempts to explain aspects of the VIOXX matter using complicity theory. His article is interesting reading and thanks to Pharmagossip for the link.
I think deciphering why things happen is a bit like interpreting poems to discern what did the author really mean. It is an interesting exercise and often we seem to feel better when we "know" why things happen but in the end is it anything more than speculation?
Dieppe says in part:
"Complicity works like that. All those with a vested interest in an enterprise get sucked into the rhetoric associated with it, and they soon ' believe' in everything that is going on within that enterprise. If personal financial gain is involved, corruption may also occur."
How much they believe and how much "they go along to get along" is hard to determine but it is clear that people in groups do things they would never do on their own.