Research Companion to Corruption in Organizations
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Research Companion to Corruption in Organizations

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Cary L. Cooper

Corruption in organizations is creating an increasing number of victims and causing huge costs. This timely book brings together international researchers who address the causes and consequences of corruption in organizations and the action needed to reduce levels of corruption worldwide.
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Chapter 4: The Escalation of Corruption in Organizations

Stelios C. Zyglidopoulos and Peter Fleming


Stelios C. Zyglidopoulos and Peter Fleming ‘And once Nicky got used to boosting stuff and seeing money, what do you think he was gonna do? Turn straight all of a sudden and give it up? No Frank. Once you gave him a taste on the house, just . . .’ ‘That was never . . . I mean, he knew. He knew. Everything I did, the cans I let through, the money we got went to keeping what we had.’ The Wire, Season 2, episode 11 . . . there are not many very good or very bad people, but the great majority are something between the two Plato’s Phaedo, 90a Introduction The term ‘the post-Enron era’ has become a part of our language that connotes not only the period after 2002, but also a period where cynicism and mistrust towards public corporations reached new heights because of the harm they caused to the public. The scandals of Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom, and many more shocked the world not only because of the amount of money involved, but also because corruption had been growing within these corporations for such a long time before the final crisis brought them down. Just as a gigantic, seemingly invulnerable tree eaten inside by termites collapses one day all of a sudden, these corporations also collapsed from an underlying invisible process of corruption, which escalated to the point of no return and brought them down seemingly out of nowhere. How did this happen? As Ashforth et al. (2008: 673) ask: ‘How do organizations,...

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