Magazine article Workforce

The Story Behind Corruption in Corporate Russia

Magazine article Workforce

The Story Behind Corruption in Corporate Russia

Article excerpt

The absence of moral values in the commercial sphere goes to the heart of Russia's struggle to forge a civilized free market environment. According to a report by American business professors Sheila Puffer and Daniel McCarthy [at Northeastern University in Boston], who compared Russian and American business ethics, three major factors have influenced the American conception of business ethics.

First, the Judeo-Christian heritage emphasized the Protestant work ethic and the idea that hard work and the accumulation of wealth are virtuous. Second, there exists the belief in individualism, which focuses on personal achievement and individual accountability, as opposed to collectivism. Third, because the United States has a long history of immigration, there is a belief that ability rather than social status should determine one's place in society. These three historical factors have resulted in Americans placing high value on fair play and competition.

The spirit of entrepreneurship in Russia, however, was thwarted by a long history of oppressive authoritarian regimes that suppressed personal freedom. The church also frowned on people who engaged in trade or business, suspecting them of selfish or unethical motives. …

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