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Ongoing projects

1) Driving competitiveness – Noemi Alexa, Assistant professor of the Center has been a member of the Microeconomic of Competitiveness Affiliate Network, Institute of Strategy and Competitiveness, Harvard Business School since 2015. The aim of this worldwide cooperation is to understand and enhance competitiveness of locations through discovering the drivers that contribute to wealth creation. The approach includes hard and soft factors of competitiveness including integrity of the macro environment and enterprises as drivers of competitiveness.

In cooperation with Associate Professor Maria Findrik and Associate Professor Zoltan Buzady a curriculum on Microeconomics of Competitiveness was developed. The first course was taught for the A1MBA cohort in the Winter semester of the academic year 2016/2017.

Professors are now working on the development of a more extended graduate course as well as on a certificate program. Furthermore, they are working on a case study about Graphisoft and Graphisoft Park where the central idea of the founder, Gabor Bojár has been around talent management and integrity.

2) Promoting Fair Entrepreneurship

This project run together with Bridge Budapest and Transparency International Hungary aims at promoting entrepreneurship in Hungary through organizing roundtable discussions about hot topics of entrepreneurs. We held four workshops on the topics of Taxation, Trust, First steps of Entrepreneurship and Transparency. Material presented by experts is available here:

Now we are working on the launch of a survey that measures the fairness of entrepreneurships. The survey will be launched in February 2017.

3) Exploring the link between organizational culture and integrity.

This research focuses on how corporate organizations manage and respond to corruption risk. In order to understand the problems that confront organizations seeking to reduce their exposure to bribery and corruption, it is useful to examine this guidance through the lens of the Burke-Litwin model of organizational performance and change. This is a model of organizational change and development, based on open systems theory. It focuses on the connections between different organizational elements, and how and understanding of these relationships can be used to design wider systemic change. The complexity and all-encompassing nature of the corruption challenge suggests that more attention should be given to organizational culture and behavior as a means to embed ethics and integrity into company operations. Our hypothesis is that organizational culture and work climate are particularly relevant factors in understanding vulnerability to corruption. Since corruption is illegal and unethical, corrupt practices necessitate the growth of particular norms within the corrupt focal group or organization. These norms will be in conflict with the stated values of the company, and will require secrecy to disguise the corrupt behavior.

4) Beliefs fostering dishonest behavior: combining ethnographic and experimental evidence

The project will investigate the factors that determine people's attitudes toward social rules aimed at improving societal welfare. Dishonesty can be characterized as failing to respect these rules, and adhering to them can be necessary 

for stable cooperation and resolving collective action problems. However, against this first operational characterization, ethnographic and experimental data suggest that depending on the context, people may break a rule and still think of themselves as honest. Context systematically influence people’s attitude towards rules.

The project’s focus is on the cultural beliefs that determine negative attitudes towards the rules meant to increase societal welfare. What are these beliefs and how do they spread?

5) The ethnographic study of corruption ideas and practices, a FP7 EU research project

Through comparative and ethnographic investigations it sheds light onto issues such as the existence of multiple moralities that may allow for the resilience of corrupt practices, the legitimacy processes at the core of political action, informal patterns of institutional arrangements, culturally defined value orientations and the historical contexts under which these orientations have developed. A second approach investigates legitimacy and trust in local government institutions, particularly in the health sector, in relation to conditions such as weakness of the state, widespread poverty, institutional unaccountability and generalised perception of the harms of corruption.

The methodological strength of anthropology is its emphasis on participant observation through fieldwork research. The ethnographers in this work package will undertake extensive fieldwork research in one selected location in each country, conducting interviews, observing and mapping patterns of interaction between local politicians, institutions and citizens, public participation in local politics, practices of gift exchange, informal economy, bribes, favours, as well as forms of social protest against corruption

The ethnographic research will be conducted in a number of countries of four different institutional configurations: old EU members, new members, pre-accession members and non members. The countries in which ethnographic research will be conducted are: Italy, Hungary, Bosnia, Kosovo, Turkey, Russia, Tanzania, and Mexico.

Past projects

1) Simulation of a Board Meeting together with the American Chamber of Commerce.

The Center for Integrity in Business and Government, CEU Business School ( Central European University Business School), together with the Governance and Transparency Committee, AmCham Hungary organized a



The Board of Directors of a publicly held (stock exchange listed) company intends to approve an M&A transaction allegedly vital to the survival of the company. Besides the uncertainties of the deal preliminary questions of conflict of interest and integrity arise involving the CEO and questionable pre-transaction practices at the target level surface at the Board meeting. How do responsible board members react? What are the moral and legal considerations to take into account? How can one determine the right priority? 

Topics to be debated at the Board Meeting
• Conflicts of interest: adequacy of disclosure
• Corporate ethics
• Compliance (transparency)
• Whistleblower (action and protection)
• Compensation appropriateness and opportunities for potentially corrupt behavior
• Responsibility, accountability and consequence


2) My first million

There is an urban legend in Hungary that you should not ask entrepreneurs about the origin of their first million, because most probably it was earned in an unfair way.  The project run together with Bridge Budapest and Transparency International Hungary aims at promoting fair entrepreneurship by collecting and sharing positive stories of Hungarian entrepreneurs who proudly explain how they got their First million.


3) The bitter fruit of power: an ethnographic approach to the study of corporate compliance

Compliance is a field that has recently achieved increasing complexity and significance in business. This study addresses the issue of how compliance mechanisms are negotiated and accepted within corporations. I present the results of ethnographic research conducted with six compliance officers from five companies located in Hungary. I argue that due to their task, as well as to the social and cultural features of business in the region, compliance officers are gaining increased power that needs to be negotiated in ways that sometimes endanger the actual objectives of corporate compliance. In particular, whistleblowing mechanisms, that are gaining momentum in compliance, need to be re-thought to become successfully adapted to societal contexts where ‘spying’ was a common practice during the totalitarian regime.

2014 International Journal of Business Anthropology 5(2): 37-46.

4)The Anthropology of Corruption (with V. Bertrand, AUDENCIA, France)

The social importance of corruption and its complex nature have led management scholars to study the phenomenon. However, they have largely ignored the research conducted by anthropologists on the matter. The aim of this article is to provide a critical review of the anthropological literature on corruption in relation to the management science research. Anthropology offers valuable insights into the understanding of the study of corruption. The field provides new perspectives particularly in relation to the definition of the concept, the morality of corruption, the processual approach, the methods of inquiry, and the holistic perspective. Management research can gain important insights from the results of ethnographic investigations that support the idea that the great diversity in the practices of corruption worldwide is imbued with the particular cultural and social implications of this phenomenon.

5) The New Environmentalism? Civil Society and Corruption in the Enlarged EU

Drawing on rich ethnographic work in both Eastern and Western Europe, The New Environmentalism? presents a range of case studies to explore the impact of corruption in EU-funded structural development projects. With detailed analyses of the forms and contexts of environmentalism, the book reveals the manner in which corruption is generated by the planning and implementation procedures of the projects, demonstrating in each case that environmental movements emerge as by-products of these processes, using corruption as part of a discourse employed in support of their action against political (regional and state) institutions, as well as to communicate their goals to local citizens. Shedding light on the ways in which revelations about corruption are adopted as a means to fostering civic participation in environmental movements and influencing institutional trust, this book contributes to our understanding of the loss of legitimacy and trust in local and global political institutions. Comparative in approach, The New Environmentalism? provides new insights into the emergence of strong civic movements at local and trans-local levels, in resistance to citizens' sense of increasing alienation from political participation and decision making. As such, it will be of interest to anthropologists, sociologists and political scientists concerned with questions of legitimacy, corruption and activism.

6) Debates on Corruption and Integrity: the US and European Perspectives (with P. Hardi and P. Heywood, University of Notthingham).

Two aspects link together the notions of corruption and integrity from an epistemological perspective: the complexity of defining the two notions, and their richness in forms. This volume brings together the perspectives of six disciplines - business, political science, law, philosophy, anthropology and behavioural science - to the debate on integrity and corruption. The main goal is to promote a fruitful interdisciplinary dialogue on complex themes such as integrity and corruption in business and politics. The book investigates possible ways in which corruption and integrity apply to everyday practices, ideas and ideologies, and avoids the stigmatizations and oversimplifications that often plague these fields of research.

 7) Corruption in Public Administration: An Ethnographic approach

Despite the growth in literature on political corruption, contributions from field research are still exiguous. This book provides a timely and much needed addition to current research, bridging the gap and providing an innovative approach to the study of corruption and integrity in public administration. The volume contributors provide insights from eight different countries, all drawing on extensive fieldwork data and following ethnographic methodologies. The topics discussed in this book include: the role of anti-corruption legislation; organizational change and integrity; party corruption; socio-cultural dimensions of corruption; gift-exchange; and clientelism. Analyzing these topics comparatively, the volume concludes that in countries where public perception of corruption is high, citizens are well aware of the generalized damage of these practices and the loss of trust they cause for public administrations. On the other hand, corruption in public administration takes place following patterns that mirror some of the fundamental social and cultural features that characterize interactions among citizens and institutions.


  • "I have been recently nominated as the Regional IT Manager for West Africa at Unilever. My CEU Business School education has been a key differentiator during an otherwise very competitive recruitment process. I would like to thank all my great peers of the 2013-14 cohort and the wonderful faculty at the B-School for the valuable learning experience I had during my time in BP."

    Moussa Moumouni

    MSc in IT Management class of 2014

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