12th Talks at Zittau Concerning Business Ethics
Call for Papers
The Ethical Dimensions of Corruption Zittau, October 20-21, 2017
Technical University Dresden
International Institute Zittau
Chair for Social Sciences
Markt 23, 02763 Zittau
For most western countries corruption, especially in its forms of grease money or petty payments, have been seen as cultural idiosyncrasy of African, South-American or East-European countries. For years, corruption has been dismissed as a cultural phenomenon especially in less-developed or developing countries, mirroring low salaries, weak infrastructure, disorganized administration and unstable political conditions. If corruption ‘happened’ in Western countries at all, this has been downplayed as a kind of ‘some-bad-apples-theory’ where a few ill-motivated actors jeopardize the honesty of the whole system. What this theory fails to explain, however, is why it is western multinational corporations that have been involved in contemporary corruption scandals in recent years. Even though most of these companies ostensibly had anti-corruption programs and monitoring systems in place, such measures obviously did not prevent management from engaging in corrupt activities. It seems therefore that corruption is a widespread and common practice
and a universally prevalent phenomenon, even if the practices and degree of corrupt behavior may vary in relation to cultural settings or in different sectors.
Thus, for example, certain sorts of gift-giving in some cultures are deeply embedded in custom and are seen as social mechanism for stabilizing relationships inside and outside the business con- text, whereas in other countries such acts of gift-giving are by and large uncommon. In the latter, gift giving is viewed as an illegitimate means of influencing the decision of the other party by creating a specific sort of obligation as well as imposing additional costs to the company. While the intention of gift giving may not be to obtain a favor from the donee in return, one of its aims may nevertheless be to cast the giver in a favorable light and to create an atmosphere of ‘friendship’ and ‘intimacy’ valued highly in some cultures, but seen as illegitimate leverage in others.
The same cultural difference in attitude can be observed with obligations vis-à-vis family members or other social groups. To take the example of employee recruitment in western countries today, we see that recruitment principally depends on qualifications and work experience and only to a lesser extent on recommendations, while in some other countries and in former times family relationship is or was seen as a guarantee of loyalty and trustworthiness and might explain why ‘nepotism’ happens and was considered acceptable.
Nevertheless, some elements of corruption are perceived as illicit in nearly all countries – irrespective of whether other corrupt practices are common in these countries or not. A very good indicator for this is the fact that most types of bribery payments are not made public and are illegal in most countries. In spite of this, even the most stringent legal regulations concerning corrupt practices leave room for interpretation. On the other hand, for companies working in a corrupt environment it is not easy to figure out the family ties of their counterparts or whether costs charged for administrative handling are legal payments or hidden bribes for some groups of state officials. Thus, according to which industry a corporation belongs, it might face specific problems related to corruption.
The aim of the 12th Talks at Zittau is to provide an overview of corrupt practices from an ethical perspective. Corruption will be considered in its broadest sense, including bribery and petty payments, nepotism and cronyism, gift-giving, embezzlement of public property, or money launder- ing. Theoretical, as well as empirical contributions, are welcome. Topics may include but are not limited to:
Theories on Corruption:
- Theoretical explanations of corrupt behavior
- Classification of corruption
- Cultural perspectives on corruption
- Corruption in the international context
- Corruption and multinational corporations
Empirical Findings on Corruption
- Influencing factors on corruption
- Corruption and foreign investment
- Measuring corruption
- Influence of Corruption on economic development
- Corrupt structures across countries
Case Studies on Corruption
- Analysis of corruption scandals
- Corruption in different industries
- Corruption in the public sector
- Specific forms of corrupt behavior
- Motivation for corruption
Measures against Corruption
- International anti-corruption programs
- National anti-corruption policy
- Industry self-regulation against corruption
- Anti-corruption training programs
- Best practice examples of anti-corruption measures
Theoretical, managerial, and empirical contributions from both academic and practitioners’ side are welcome. We highly appreciate contributions which open up a new perspective on corruption and related practices to foster a critical discussion on this topic.
Submissions, including title of contribution, extended abstract (500 to 1000 words) and short CV in Word or pdf format should be made latest until
June 30, 2017.
All submissions will be double-blind reviewed. Notice on acceptance will be sent until
August 11, 2017.
Registration deadline for the conference is
September 30, 2017.
Submissions and conference registration should be made via our homepage which will be opened by beginning of May