The issues of governance scandals and corporate control failures are perennial and persistent. In the last year, companies and industries ranging from airlines to banking, data analytics, health technology, marketing, transportation and delivery, have been exposed to situations related to abusive or discriminatory working relationships, bribery, corruption, data breaches, or just simple fraud. The implication of any of the above is destructive for all stakeholders of a company: customers, employees, investors, and executives are all affected in different aspects of their lives. Equally important, is the fact that the society as a whole is also affected because the presence of corporate scandals erodes the confidence in organizations, increases the uncertainty and thus the cost in investing; it ultimately harms the credibility and reputation of officials and institutions at the firm and country level.
In this edition of the criterion of the month we present the relationship between variables from our dataset that capture the perception on corruption and practices within firms.
Research on corporate governance points to the legal and institutional framework as mechanisms that can address control failures. They are related with the rule of law in a country, the strength and independence of the judicial system, and the time it takes for decisions to be finalized and implemented. The top panel in Figure 1 presents the responses by mid- and upper level managers from our Executive Opinion Survey as to the existence of bribery and corruption. The answers are aggregated at a regional level and the higher number denotes a perception of lower presence of bribery and corruption in the country. As the figure outlines, Western Europe is characterized by the lowest presence of corruption followed by Eastern Asia and North America, while South America exhibits the highest.