Convicted for paying bribes to secure contracts abroad, Mabey and Johnson (M&J), a UK construction firm, made both legal and international business history. Drawing on hubris as a lens, we examine M&J's bribery scandal in Ghana and Jamaica. Through a qualitative study of court documents, witness statements, newspaper articles, and internal company emails, we unpack the bribery scheme operated by M&J executives that enabled the firm to illegitimately win major government contracts in Ghana and Jamaica. Fueled by executive hubris, M&J's practice of bribing foreign officials to secure contracts effectively insulated M&J executives from day-to-day realities. Over time, the firm's executives viewed themselves as infallible, exempt from established mores, invincible, and were unremorseful for their actions. Building on these findings, we develop a hubris-bribery heuristic framework showing how individual, organizational, and institutional contexts constitutively fueled executive hubris, driving bribery at M&J. The implication for theory and practice is examined.
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- Department of Management - Senior Lecturer in Management (Strategy)
- Huddersfield Business School
- Centre for Sustainability, Responsibility, Governance and Ethics - Member