Being an Ethical Business in a Corrupt Environment

S. Ramakrishna Velamuri (First Author), S. Venkataraman (Participant Author), William S. Harvey (Participant Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal


In environments with widespread corruption, most business leaders hesitate to take a firm stand against corruption. However, research conducted in Egypt, Zimbabwe, and India shows that organizations should view building a strong ethical reputation in such environments as an opportunity to differentiate themselves. To do this, companies can follow four steps. First, frame their ethical behavior in a way that resonates with as wide a network of stakeholders as possible. Second, understand that there are gradations of corruption. Third, acquire a fine-grained understanding of their stakeholders. Fourth, strategically build partnerships with high-status individuals and organizations, a tactic referred to as “reputation borrowing.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-5
JournalHarvard Business Review Digital Articles
Issue number3/23/2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Corresponding author email


  • Corruption
  • Ethics
  • Reputation


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