1 results for Al Zadjali, Mahir Khamis Sumar

  • The nature, causes, consequences, and mitigation of corruption : a new paradigm and role for accounting

    Al Zadjali, Mahir Khamis Sumar

    Thesis
    Lincoln University

    Corruption is increasingly seen as a pivotal issue on which, depending on their response to it, societies rise, decline, or (even) collapse. Accounting’s 10 millennia role in generating trust and information for decision makers makes it a natural social institution for suppressing corruption or at least mitigating its harm. Corruption, a furtive act (needing darkness, deception, denial and treachery), is incompatible with good accountability, because it does not long survive exposure of its infidelity, betrayals and defalcations. However, accounting has few effective anti-corruption tools and (as many studies show) accountants are themselves subject to being corrupted. While much has been written on corruption and its consequences, accounting studies on corruption have mostly either relied on extant definitions of corruption or focused on how some accountants have betrayed the trust of their clients and profession by facilitating the corrupt. After reviewing such well-trod paths, this thesis uses a mixed-methods research approach to: 1) consider why accounting and other control measures have tended to be ineffective after centuries, if not millennia, of application; 2) re-examine corruption from a first-principles perspective; 3) evaluate the socio-economic harm generated across a range of corruption (i.e. is corruption ever beneficial or trivial?); 4) propose a shift in the extant corruption paradigm, as a means to make the anti-corruption efforts of accountants and others more cost-effective. While morality and ethics are vital considerations in any review of corruption, they are too culturally and context sensitive to yield an unambiguous definition of corruption, needed to shape and form operational anti-corruption efforts. Efforts to contain corruption via tools arising from extant definitions and/or legal semantics are all too often a day late and a dollar short. In its review of the literature on corruption, this study found that all the reviewed definitions of corruption focus on attributes of the perpetrators of corruption, most include the intent to obtain a self-regarding wrongful gain, and many are restricted to public office. This thesis contends that the current paradigm of corruption imposes attributes on the corruption definitions that unnecessarily make prosecution of the corrupt nearly impossible, unless those who are being prosecuted are inept or very unlucky. This thesis proposes a new paradigm of corruption where the focus is on victims of corruption—in particular, on the harm they suffer as a result of a breached duty of care. This paradigm fits corruption within the tort breach of duty of care and proof of that tort rest on three legs that are individually necessary and, in combination, sufficient to define any and all types of corruption. This paradigm side-steps the emotive and cultural baggage found in most definitions of corruption and, as such, gives a focus to attack this ancient social evil at its root, instead of the thousands of current attacks on its branches, twigs, and leaves. Social attitudes to corruption range from tolerance to revulsion. This study seeks to focus the struggle against corruption by using quantitative analyses of the output and indices from a range of studies to count the socio-economic cost of corruption and to illustrate how it always harms society. The analysis suggests that businesses use a variety of ways to ameliorate the harm of corruption, however, those means are never fully effective, and the cumulative effects of their competitive bidding for the services of the corrupt eventually precipitate multiple cascading failures in the infrastructure and foundations of society. This study suggests that an accounting of the socio-economic consequences of corruption should include measures of: increased violence, reduced satisfaction with life, and reduced growth, all of which perpetuate or deepen poverty. Thus, corruption despoils the means to increase and maintain wealth and social well-being. Six cases were developed to test the proposed paradigm. It was found that if the new paradigm had been applied, the corruption in the case would have been cleaned with little or no effort by the government or its institutions—also, the deterrent effect on those considering a gain from corruption would likely be greater than the current anticorruption approach. This study concludes that corruption can be cost-effectively resolved if a new paradigm of corruption is developed where corruption is seen as a breach of a duty-of-care and the civil courts are used to impose retribution on the guilty and provide their victims with restitution.

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