Accessibility navigation

The bribery paradox in transition economies and the enactment of ‘new normal’ business environments

Eddleston, K. A., Banalieva, E. R. and Verbeke, A. (2020) The bribery paradox in transition economies and the enactment of ‘new normal’ business environments. Journal of Management Studies, 57 (3). pp. 597-625. ISSN 1467-6486

Text (Open access) - Published Version
· Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/joms.12551


We develop a novel, sensemaking perspective on corruption in transition economies. Prior research has focused on understanding why some entrepreneurs are more likely to pay bribes than others. It typically assumes that paying bribes will lead to an intended – albeit unfair – competitive advantage. We challenge this assumption and uncover a bribery paradox: drawing upon sensemaking logic, we argue that beyond gaining an immediate benefit from bribing, entrepreneurs who frequently pay bribes may in the longer run be enacting a ‘new normal’ business environment perceived as high in obstacles, especially in transition countries. As sensemaking is grounded in identity construction and one’s social context, we argue that owners of family firms will be especially vulnerable to the dangers of perceiving greater obstacles over time and enacting an obstacle‐ridden ‘new normal’ business environment. We find empirical support for our framework on a sample of 310 privately‐held small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) from 22 transition economies.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:88239
Uncontrolled Keywords:Management of Technology and Innovation, Strategy and Management, Business and International Management


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation