A Cross-Cultural View of Corruption
journal contributionposted on 01.03.1998, 00:00 by John N. Hooker
The world is shrinking, but its cultures remain worlds apart, as do its ethical norms. The West views bribery, kickbacks, cronyism and nepotism as unethical, but they are standard practice in many parts of the world. This poses a familiar dilemma for business firms that operate globally: should they engage in what they see as corrupt behavior in order to do business? The position defended here is that firms should always resist corruption, but at the same time understand it from a broader perspective: as behavior that undermines a cultural system. Behavior that is acceptable in one country may be corrupting in another. Businesses must take into account the cultural situation on the ground, or else they may help to disrupt the very system they wish to engage.