How expatriates work in dangerous environments of pervasive corruption

How expatriates work in dangerous environments of pervasive corruption


  • Carl H . Greppin
  • Bo Carlsson
  • Nnaoke Ufere
  • Adrian Wolfberg


Journal of Global Mobility, 4 ed., vol. 5, pp. 18, November 2017




Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to help understand how US expatriates living and working in dangerous environments characterized by pervasive corruption deal with the phenomena and make decisions about the degree to which they get involved. Design/methodology/approach – To answer this question, 30 US executives who worked in such countries were interviewed. Findings – Some executives refused to participate in corrupt practices; others chose to reluctantly succumb to extortion, while others willingly participated in corruption. The study found that social norms played a significant role in their decisions. There are four social norms: personal norms, subjective norms, injunctive norms, and descriptive norms. US executives rely on personal norms and injunctive norms for deciding to refuse to participate in corrupt practices, on descriptive norms and subjective norms for deciding to reluctantly succumb to extortion, and on descriptive norms and personal norms for deciding to willingly participate in corruption. Originality/value – These findings illustrate what motivates US executives to make decisions about participating in corruption when living and working in countries with pervasive corruption. This has implications for policy, research, and practice.