Corruption and Public Welfare

Corruption is a major detractor from global welfare and local economic development. Its consequences are shoddily built roads, structures that collapse, clinics with equipment purchased at high prices or inappropriate specifications. In all such circumstances vast public expenditures do not achieve the envisioned use and local interest suffers.

Typical side payments are 10-15 percent of all major expenditures, with much higher levels in the developing world. “It is human nature to lubricate relationships with gratuity” was a typical statement, with more diversion attributed to high-context cultures [e.g., Latin American, Latin Europe, and Asia] and less to low-context ones [e.g., United States, Northern and Germanic Europe]. Yet, the social acceptance of corruption was seen as a bigger danger because it protects the elite from domestic scrutiny and control. Therefore, the ongoing impact of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the OECD discussions were seen as instrumental in reducing or at least containing such misappropriations. More multilateral action is seen as necessary to ensure broad, continuous and relentless enforcement of measures against violators. Beneficiaries of ill gotten gains from bribery should eventually be pursued globally to disgorge their ill gotten gains.

This is an excerpt from Dr. Czinkota’s book Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead, co-authored by Dr. Ilkka Ronkainen.

Michael R Czinkota and Ilkka A Ronkainen, Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead (New York: Routledge, 2011), pg. 105.

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Answer to Jeopardy Question from 9/15

Why is it easy for a stranger to get lost in Tokyo?


It’s easy to get lost in Tokyo because it is one of the biggest, most populous cities in the world. It has grown with virtually no zoning, so that factories stand next to houses, next to schools, next to bars, next to ancient Shinto Temples, and there are almost no street names, numbers or signs. The best way to tell a stranger how to find you is to memorize the locations of coffee shops in various parts of the city, rehearse giving directions to them, and then describe their location to your visitors. Then you can go and meet them there.

Cultural Sensitivity in Questions

When generating survey questions, it is important to be sensitive to cultural differences that can have an impact on what is acceptable and what is not. Questions about age or income will be accepted differently in different countries. In regions such as Asia and the Middle East, it is considered bad form to ask questions about employees, performance, stnadards, and financing. Sometimes, the solution is just to reframe the question in a less sensitive format. Rather than ask, “How old are you?” ask, “In what year were you born?”

Pay careful attention to the translation of questions. One of the authors of this book, for example once used the phrase “group discussion” in a questionnaire for Russian executives only to learn that it translated to “political indoctrination session.” It helps to use a translation-retranslation approach, when the researcher writes the question, has it translated, and then has a second translator return the question to the original language. This technique helps identify potential missteps.

Another recommended safeguard is using alternative wording. This lets the researcher use questions that address the same issue but are worded differently and that resurface at various points in the questionnaire in order to check for consistency in how respondents interpret the question.