The relationship between
culture and corruption:
a cross-national study
Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt, and Beirut Arab University, Beirut,
DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
Purpose – This paper aims to investigate the relationship between the GLOBE (Global Leadership
and Organizational Behaviour Effectiveness) project national cultural dimensions of values and
practices and the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
Design/methodology/approach – Most empirical research on culture dimensions and corruption is
based on Hofstede’s dataset of culture conducted more than 25 years ago. Evidence from a more recent
dataset of culture dimensions is needed before current generalizations can be made. The GLOBE
project is based on the perceptions of 18,000 individuals.
Findings – The results provide empirical support for the inﬂuence of uncertainty avoidance values,
human orientation practices, and individual collectivism practices on the level of corruption after
controlling for economic and human development, which, in turn, adds to the efforts to build a general
theory of the culture perspective of corruption.
Research limitations/implications – The ﬁndings offer valuable insights on why cultural values
and cultural practices should be distinguished as they relate to corruption.
Practical implications – International policy makers as well as managers at multinational
corporations can beneﬁt from the ﬁndings of this research study.
Originality/value – The research reported is among the ﬁrst to investigate the issue of corruption
from the perspective of national cultural values and practices.
Keywords Corruption, Culture, Cross-cultural studies
Paper type Research paper
Corruption has become one of the forefront managerial issues at the national and
international levels. Corrupt practices in international business are widespread and
growing (Greenberger, 1995). Economists refer to some indicators that might be
inﬂuenced by the level of corruption, such as GDP per capita, government expenditure,
and foreign aid (e.g. Kuton et al., 2007; Ashour, 2006; Svensson, 2005). However,
corruption has many consequences, such as the delay of economic development,
international trade and investment (Glynn et al., 1997), which negatively impact
economic growth (Mauro, 1995). Empirical research shows that the presence of high
corruption signiﬁcantly hinders the inﬂow of foreign direct investment (FDI) to host
countries (Zhao et al., 2003), negatively affects economic success (Mauro, 1998), reduces
the level of human capital, and destroys conﬁdence in both public and private
institutions (Husted, 2002). Moreover, globalization has increased the need for
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Journal of Intellectual Capital
Vol. 10 No. 1, 2009
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited