Fighting Against Corruption: Does Anti-corruption Training Make Any Difference?


Corruption continues to represent a tenacious challenge to internationally active companies. According to prevailing international anti-corruption standards, a company can be held criminally liable if it does not put all necessary and reasonable organizational measures in place to prevent corruption. The regular training of employees is considered one of the most effective ways to prevent corruption. Employee training is considered helpful in efforts to minimize the risk of employees becoming involved in corrupt behavior. With this idea in mind and building on the fraud triangle model and neutralization theory, this paper examines whether business professionals who have undergone anti-corruption training are more likely to reject prevailing justifications of corrupt practices than are those who have not undergone such training. The empirical analysis in this paper is based on regression models using data obtained from a unique dataset that includes 200 business professionals. The findings provide evidence that training is positively linked to the likelihood of rejecting justifications of corruption. However, the research also suggests that methods of training must become more specific in order to tackle challenging questions regarding the gray areas of ethics and compliance.

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Much of this paper was written while I was a visiting scholar at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management and Bentley University’s Hoffman Center for Business Ethics. I would like to thank both schools for their generous hospitality, as well as Marta Geletkanycz, W. Michael Hoffman, Sandra Waddock, and two anonymous referees for helpful suggestions and comments on earlier versions of the paper. I am grateful to Jens Hogenacker and Martin Messingschlager for their econometric assistance as well as to colleagues at HTW Chur and University of Siegen for their contribution and input into the development of the underlying research project. Funding from the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) is gratefully acknowledged. The usual disclaimer applies.


This study was co-funded by Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI).

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Correspondence to Christian Hauser.

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Christian Hauser declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Christian Hauser is Professor of Business Economics and International Management at the University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur, Switzerland. He is a member of the topical platform Ethics of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW), member of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Working Group on Anti-Corruption and head of the first PRME Business Integrity Action Center in Europe. His research interests include international entrepreneurship, SME and private sector development, corporate responsibility and business integrity.

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Hauser, C. Fighting Against Corruption: Does Anti-corruption Training Make Any Difference?. J Bus Ethics 159, 281–299 (2019) doi:10.1007/s10551-018-3808-3

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  • Internationalization
  • Corruption
  • Corruption prevention
  • Business ethics
  • Ethics training

JEL Classification

  • D73
  • L22
  • M14
  • M16
  • M53