The Dark Side of Authority

In: Business and Management

Submitted By bimal
Words 11977
Pages 48
Journal of Business Ethics (2008) 77:431–449 DOI 10.1007/s10551-007-9358-8

Ó Springer 2007

The Dark Side of Authority: Antecedents, Mechanisms, and Outcomes of Organizational Corruption

Ruth V. Aguilera Abhijeet K. Vadera

ABSTRACT. Corruption poisons corporations in America and around the world, and has devastating consequences for the entire social fabric. In this article, we focus on organizational corruption, described as the abuse of authority for personal benefit, and draw on Weber’s three ideal-types of legitimate authority to develop a theoretical model to better understand the antecedents of different types of organizational corruption. Specifically, we examine the types of business misconduct that organizational leaders are likely to engage in, contingent on their legitimate authority, motives, and justifications. We conclude by suggesting managerial implications of our theoretical model and propose directions for future research. KEY WORDS: authority, bureaucracy, corruption, opportunity, motivation, justification, types of organizational corruption, weber, white-collar crime

The issue of corruption has been gaining increasing importance in today’s world. The World Bank has singled out corruption as the largest obstacle to economic and social development, and in our search of the word ‘corruption’ in article headings in The Wall Street Journal in 2004, the word appeared 496 times. Much evidence also suggests that corruption is as ancient as disloyalty and greed, particularly in the context of politics. For example, in a fourth century B.C. manifesto entitled Arthashastra (‘Science of Polity’), Indian political philosopher, Kautilya discusses the principles of governing the state and includes the problem of
Manuscript BUSI393R1, REVISED and RESUBMITTED to the Journal of Business Ethics. This article fits under the sections: Corporate Governance…...

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