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School of Business and Management

Jonathan Webb is awarded the Society for Business Ethics Founders' Award

Jonathan Webb, a PhD student in the Business Ecosystems Research Group at QMUL, is awarded the Society for Business Ethics Founders' Award for his work on Corruption in Business Relationships. This award is given to promising PhD students in the field of business ethics.

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Jonathan’s research focuses on the under researched and unappreciated phenomenon of supply chain corruption. As American and European companies increasingly engage in low cost sourcing in countries with different corporate values, the potential for bribery and corruption to enter the supply chain increases. The trend in business has been to outsource as much of their operations as possible, resulting in enormously complex and fragmented supply chains. It is not unusual to have companies with 20, 30 or 40 thousand suppliers, which makes compliance checks very complex and costly. This process becomes all the more intricate when the supply chain extends to countries where local norms and customs encourage business practices that could be seen as acts of bribery.

Businesses are currently not equipped to deal with the challenge of managing such complex supply chains. This is due to prohibitive costs and lack of resourcing, as well as a gap in academic research in this field. Jonathan’s research aims to address this by providing a theoretical basis for understanding supply chain corruption. His focus is on mapping out different configurations of theoretical possibilities. One of the core questions the research addresses is what qualifies as corruption. It also looks at types of corruption which exist, their directionality and the actors typically involved.

Professor Stephan Henneberg, one of Jonathan’s PhD supervisors at QMUL, said: “Corruption in business relationships between firms represents an important managerial as well as academic issue which is not yet understood well enough. Jonathan's PhD-work provides important theoretical foundations for understanding incidents of corruption better, and prepares the ground for empirical research in this area."

As part of the award, Jonathan has been invited to participate in the Society's Emerging Scholars Workshop and Networking Event, and to present his paper at the upcoming Annual Society for Business Ethics conference in the USA.