A vulnerable victim or a tacit participant? Extending the field of multinationals and corruption research

Fang Lee Cooke, Jingtian Wang, Geoffrey Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Are multinational enterprises (MNEs) makers or takers of corruption? This review focuses on corruption in the multinational context to highlight issues specific to MNEs, and captures 139 articles from 75 English journals over the period of 1999−2020. Our review not only highlights common themes around the contextual challenges facing MNEs, but also how a key strand of the literature focuses attention on the role of MNEs as active agents in corrupt practices. It is often implied that corruption is something endemic to the emerging markets, which MNEs from the north have to cope with if they have to do business there, rather than what significant numbers of such firms actively instigate or sustain. Hence, we challenge predominantly western perspectives informed by institutional-economic analyses that too often, pose a false dichotomy between the global north and global south. We draw out the implications for theorizing based on recent comparative institutional theorizing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101890
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Business Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Corruption distance
  • CSR
  • Developing countries
  • Governance
  • Institutional environment
  • MNEs

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