In its recent anti-corruption campaign, China removed the criminal immunity originally enjoyed by its leaders. Absent fundamental changes in the political institution—in which incumbent leaders, instead of citizens at large, select the next leaders—such a partial reform pays off only if (i) it takes place at the “right” time, (ii) it goes easy on corrupt low-rank officials, and (iii) the government is reasonably centralized. Failing any of these, such a partial reform would lead to rampant corruption throughout the government hierarchy—an outcome far worse than retaining leader immunity.
This study compares government accounting reforms in an Anglophone and a Francophone African country, namely Ghana and Benin, with respect to neo-colonialism. The data draws from interviews with local officials concerned with government accounting, documents and documentaries. The focus lay on the perceived effectiveness of reforms, and their formulation and implementation. In both countries their former colonial powers, Britain and France, still influence accounting through economic means (through monetary systems), international financial institutions, political advisors, Northern accounting associations and neo-patrimonialism. However, their use of these differs. While France structures her control mostly around the monetary system established during colonialism, Britain relies on its post-colonial infrastructure and accounting profession, and concedes much influence to the USA, essentially through international financial institutions. France exerts more direct control through advisors than Britain (with the USA). The French approach is conceptualized as coercive-neo-colonialism and the British as soft-neo-colonialism. Despite international financial institutions’ pervasive presence, they are not monolithic agents with a uniform role and influence in Ghana and Benin, and good governance aims to increase civil service capacity, financial transparency and accountability remain problematic.
Harvard Business Review Digital Articles
In environments with widespread corruption, most business leaders hesitate to take a firm stand against corruption. However, research conducted in Egypt, Zimbabwe, and India shows that organizations should view building a strong ethical reputation in such environments as an opportunity to differentiate themselves. To do this, companies can follow four steps. First, frame their ethical behavior in a way that resonates with as wide a network of stakeholders as possible. Second, understand that there are gradations of corruption. Third, acquire a fine-grained understanding of their stakeholders. Fourth, strategically build partnerships with high-status individuals and organizations, a tactic referred to as “reputation borrowing.”
Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society
The purpose of this study is to explore the regulatory framework in China and the extent to which Chinese multinationals have implemented and disclosed their anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) compliance practices. This is done against the backdrop of the evolving international ABC compliance standards.
This study is based on detailed reviews of the ABC compliance standards of international organizations; legislation passed by the USA, the UK and Chinese Governments; seven semi-structured interviews with leading experts in the field; and comparisons of ABC program disclosures of four Chinese with four best-in-class western multinational corporations.
A high level of convergence was found in the ABC standards published by the international organizations. Several positive features were found in the Chinese ABC regulatory frameworks but our findings indicate that there is minimal disclosure around ABC compliance program practices. This paper shows that a transparent disclosure would represent an easy win for Chinese multinational corporations and contribute to raising their reputations internationally.
While there are numerous studies in the law literature on ABC compliance standards and the extent to which they are effective in achieving their objectives, this is an emergent area in management research, to which our study makes a contribution. Future research could explore how other emerging economies are tackling this important issue.
By proactively adopting ABC compliance practices, corporations can seize the ethical high ground and build solid reputations with their stakeholders.
It is believed that this study is the first academic study that compares Chinese and international ABC standards.