Abstract

Is corruption always viewed as immoral? Can it be noble? The entrepreneurship literature has noted that the entrepreneurial context is unique and that some corrupt acts are not only “accepted as part of entrepreneurship” but are in fact virtuous (Brenkert, 2009, p. 448). Building on these works, we hypothesize that when entrepreneurs use clever actions during rule-breaking activities, their actions will be regarded as more noble. In our study, we operationalize clever entrepreneurial actions by drawing on the concepts of improvisation and bricolage (Baker, Miner, & Eesley, 2003; Baker & Nelson, 2005). We propose that this relationship is conditional on the ethical orientation of the person viewing the rule breaking actions (i.e., utilitarianism, formalism). In this study, we also develop and validate a scale designed to assess the nobility of corrupt actions undertaken by entrepreneurial actors.

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