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Corruption prevention commitment determinants and consequences (RDF23/AFM/SARHAN)

   Faculty of Business and Law

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  Dr Ahmed Sarhan, Prof Aly Salama  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Pandora papers and FinCEN files reveal that corruption has become a rising trend globally. Developing countries’ resources are exhausted, and developed countries (e.g., the UK) are used as hubs for tax avoidance and money laundry. Meanwhile, the growing number of corporate financial scandals reveals the importance of monitoring corporate corruption as an ethical, social, and economic issue (Blanc et al., 2018; Islam et al., 2018). Corporate corruption is not restricted to specific economic, political, or social characteristics; it is a global phenomenon that has damaging results on businesses, economies, and societies (Nguyen & van Dijk, 2012; Zeume, 2017). International organisations (e.g., UN and OECD) and governments have recognised the destructive consequences of corruption on society’s welfare and economic health; therefore, they have issued guidance, conventions, or recommendations to fight corruption (Branco & Delgado, 2012; Islam et al., 2018). Recently, businesses have begun incorporating corruption prevention measures in their governance structure and/or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies (Branco & Delgado 2012; Blanc et al., 2019). Businesses adoption/disclosure of corruption fighting measures is to avoid corruption negative economic and legal consequences or to reflect their ethical and CSR commitments (Luo, 2005; Islam et al., 2018). However, such measures’ competence in preventing corruption depends on whether businesses follow/disclose these measures as a complement to/integral component of their CSR agenda and not just a greenwashing technique. The recent evidence of corporate financial corruption worldwide encourages scholars to study corporate measures/disclosures to fight corruption and its impact on businesses in different contexts, particularly with the limited data/measures of corruption on the firm level. Previous studies report that individuals, firm- and country-level factors affect organisational behaviour, including anti-corruption measures/disclosures (e.g., Ullah et al., 2019). This project will investigate corporate and national factors that determine corporate adoption/disclosure of anti-corruption measures in corporate communications, including annual reports. It also attempts to examine the effect of corporate anti-corruption commitment on business (e.g., market and accounting performance). Another proposed further research direction is to explore whether financial analysts care about anti-corruption measures in corporate communications. In doing so, it uses panel data analysis and employs a sample of firms listed in developed and developing countries during the last ten years.

Academic Enquiries

This project is supervised by Ahmed Sarhan. For informal queries, please contact Ahmed Sarhan [Email Address Removed]. For all other enquiries relating to eligibility or application process please use the email form below to contact Admissions. 

Funding Information

Home and International students (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. The studentship is available to Home and International (including EU) students and includes a full stipend at UKRI rates (for 2022/23 full-time study this is £17,668 per year) and full tuition fees. Studentships are also available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £10,600 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities). 

Please also see further advice below of additional costs that may apply to international applicants.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if they are already a PhD holder or if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

Please note: to be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have settled status, or
  • have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student. Applicants will need to be in the UK and fully enrolled before stipend payments can commence, and be aware of the following additional costs that may be incurred, as these are not covered by the studentship.

  • Immigration Health Surcharge
  • If you need to apply for a Student Visa to enter the UK, please refer to the information on It is important that you read this information very carefully as it is your responsibility to ensure that you hold the correct funds required for your visa application otherwise your visa may be refused.
  • Check what COVID-19 tests you need to take and the quarantine rules for travel to England
  • Costs associated with English Language requirements which may be required for students not having completed a first degree in English, will not be borne by the university. Please see individual adverts for further details of the English Language requirements for the university you are applying to.

How to Apply

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see  

For applications to be considered for interview, please include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words and the advert reference (e.g. RDF23/…).

Deadline for applications: 27 January 2023

Start date of course: 1 October 2023 tbc

Northumbria University is committed to creating an inclusive culture where we take pride in, and value, the diversity of our doctoral students. We encourage and welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds a bronze Athena Swan award in recognition of our commitment to advancing gender equality, we are a Disability Confident Employer, a member of the Race Equality Charter and are participating in the Stonewall Diversity Champion Programme. We also hold the HR Excellence in Research award for implementing the concordat supporting the career Development of Researchers.


Blanc, R., Branco, M. C., & Patten, D. M. (2019). Cultural Secrecy and Anti‐corruption Disclosure in Large Multinational Companies. Australian Accounting Review, 29(2), 438-448.
Branco, M., & Delgado, C. (2012). Business, social responsibility, and corruption. Journal of Public Affairs, 12(4), 357-365.
Islam, M. A., Dissanayake, T., Dellaportas, S., & Haque, S. (2018). Anti-bribery disclosures: A response to networked governance. Accounting Forum, 42(1), pp. 3-16.
Luo, Y. (2005). An Organizational Perspective of Corruption. Management and Organization Review, 1(1), 119-154.
Nguyen, T. T. and M. A. van Dijk, (2012). Corruption, growth, and governance: Private vs. state -owned firms in Vietnam. Journal of Banking & Finance, 36, 2935–2948.
Ullah, S., Ahmad, S., Akbar, S., & Kodwani, D. (2019). International Evidence on the Determinants of Organizational Ethical Vulnerability. British Journal of Management, 30(3), 668-691.
Zeume, S. (2017). Bribes and firm value. Review of Financial Studies, 30(5), 1457-1489.

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