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The Mabey and Johnson bribery Scandal: A Case of Executive Hubris

Sarpong, David and Adams, Kweku (2018) The Mabey and Johnson bribery Scandal: A Case of Executive Hubris. Thunderbird International Business Review. (In Press)

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Abstract

Convicted for paying bribes to secure contracts abroad, Mabey and Johnson (M&J), a UK construction firm,
made both legal and international business history. Drawing on hubris as a lens, we examine M&J’s bribery
scandal in Ghana and Jamaica. Through a qualitative study of court documents, witness statements, newspaper
articles, and internal company emails, we unpack the bribery scheme operated by M&J executives that enabled
the firm to illegitimately win major government contracts in Ghana and Jamaica. Fuelled by executive hubris,
we found M&J’s practice of bribing foreign officials to secure contracts effectively insulated M&J executives
from day-to-day realities. Overtime, the firm’s executives viewed themselves as infallible, exempt from
established mores, invincible, and unremorseful for their actions. Building on these findings; we develop a
hubris-bribery heuristic framework showing how individual, organizational, and institutional context
constitutively fuelled executive hubris to drive bribery at M&J. The implication for theory and practice are
examined.

Item Type: Article
Status: In Press
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
School/Department: York Business School
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/3060

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