Background Note | HBS Case Collection | November 2001

Global Approaches to Anti-Corruption

by Joseph Hinsey, Guhan Subramanian and Michelle Kalka


In the 1970s, a series of unpleasant revelations about corporate conduct, culminating in the public disclosure about unsavory business practices abroad by more than 400 U.S. corporations, jarred popular perceptions concerning business ethics. Congress responded by enacting the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in late 1977. However, as time passed, U.S. businesses complained that they were at a competitive disadvantage to foreign companies because many countries lacked an equivalent to the U.S.'s FCPA. In December 1997, OECD member countries and five nonmember countries signed a Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. All signatories agreed to introduce legislation making foreign bribery a crime. This case discusses anticorruption measures and provides a fictional case study to illustrate the issues involved in a more concrete way.

Keywords: Crime and Corruption; Globalization; Developing Countries and Economies; Laws and Statutes; Ethics; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Information Industry; United States;


Hinsey, Joseph, Guhan Subramanian, and Michelle Kalka. "Global Approaches to Anti-Corruption." Harvard Business School Background Note 902-062, November 2001.