Corruption, particularly bribery of government officials, inflicts substantial damage on people, society, and the world, and warrants control. Collective efforts to control corruption tend to focus on rules and compliance with those rules. This paper suggests that collective action also consider the creation of strong ethical cultures in business firms. Implementation of such programs is impeded by the difficulty in prescribing a course of action and by the difficulty in measuring the strength of an ethical culture. This paper suggests the measurement and maximization of stakeholder trust as a proxy for measures of ethical culture. The qualities that engender stakeholder trust correspond with ethical behaviors. Stakeholder trust confers benefits on business firms, which will incentivize and justify its measurement. Implementation of a program focused on ethical culture would benefit from collective action both by normalizing behaviors and in the development of sophisticated measurement tools.
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There is, of course, a lively debate within the sciences that study organizations on definitions and measurement of organizational culture in general . A variety of terms, such as adhocratic, clan, entrepreneurial, hierarchical, have been suggested by academics to describe aspects of the cultures such as administrative flexibility, relationship structures and importance, and decision making processes, along with proposed methods to measure these cultural structures (see, for example, [94,95,96]). Business consultants advocate and propose methods of measuring cultural forms such as enterprise architecture management or total quality management (see, for example, [97, 98]). While those debates are of interest to the concept of culture in general, this paper focuses on the state and strength of an organization’s ethical culture.
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Nichols, P.M., Dowden, P.E. Maximizing stakeholder trust as a tool for controlling corruption. Crime Law Soc Change 71, 171–195 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10611-017-9767-2