Researching Corruption in Asia: The Accountant and “Five Blind Men”
The objective of this thesis is to identify and determine the way in which academic business research has evaluated or determined corruption, bribery and fraud in financial and accounting reporting in China and Indonesia. A subsidiary purpose was to identify how academic accounting researchers have accommodated particular ethnic and cultural aspects in their research. Very few accounting related results were found, especially those linking all variables in a conclusive and convincing manner. This appears to be caused by a lack of agreed definitions of key terms, a confusion over terminology, usage of discredited and myopic models, and an absence of any specific reported financial impacts on both the accounting profession and society globally. As a consequence, only parts of the “proverbial elephant as described by five blind men” (Duen, 2008, Silverstein, 2012) were identified by various authors, and mostly independently of each other. These thesis findings create an opportunity and a challenge for future researchers in this field to take a much more comprehensive approach, incorporating both quantitative and qualitative methods, with the aim of addressing the connection between ethnicity, accounting and corruption in much clearer perspective. In marrying the normally standalone quantitative with qualitative methods it is expected that researchers will be able to achieve a hitherto elusively holistic understanding of the complex layers that propel and impel cultural norms and ethnicity. In order to do this, it is suggested that future researchers consider the application of an embedded research methodology, supported by much broader and deeper analysis and understanding of the various layered ecological influences, as advocated by academics and thought leaders of society alike.