Academic in focus: Dr. Elizabeth David-Barrett

According to a Global CEO Survey (PwC, 2016), there is increased concern amongst CEOs worldwide over issues of bribery and corruption. This concern has been proven warranted, with a significant level of unethical conduct remaining – meaning corruption and fraud are still among the greatest risks to businesses today (Ernst Young, 2019).

At Sussex’s Centre for the Study of Corruption (CSC), academics are producing groundbreaking research towards solving this very problem. The centre is at the forefront of research against corrupt behaviour and activity within regional, sectoral and organisational contexts.

At the heart of the centre’s work is Dr Elizabeth David-Barrett, Centre Director,  and Senior Lecturer on the Corruption and Governance MA (online) course. Dr David-Barrett joined the University of Sussex in 2014, following her work at Oxford’s Said Business School and  Department of Sociology. She previously worked for London think tanks, such as the Institute for Public Policy Research and the Centre for European Reform, as well as political risk consultancy, Oxford Analytica. She has also worked as a journalist in Croatia and Hungary, reporting for The Economist, the Financial Times, the BBC World Service and Business Central Europe.

In her Compliance and International Business module, Dr David-Barrett uses her expertise to teach students how to tackle compliance issues plaguing today’s global businesses. The module reflects her work and research in the private sector and explains why a growing number of organisations have implemented compliance strategies. Students have the opportunity to evaluate a company’s successes in helping to mitigate against corrupt practice in international business using real-world case studies.

As part of her work in solving complex compliance solutions, Dr David-Barrett has conducted research which explores how groups of people, or what she calls ‘clubs’, can help start and maintain collective action against corruption in businesses. This short video demonstrates how international clubs can be used to change norms about bribery and corruption:

Solutions such as International Club Theory, showcased in the above video, are one of the many ways in which Dr David-Barrett brings her research into the classroom and beyond. From the private sector to clientelism and favouritism in government contracting, this level of relevancy in the research is reflected throughout the entirety of the course. Wherever they are in the world, students of the MA online can apply their learnings to today’s current issues with ease – making the transition between study and practice effortless.

Find out more about how Dr David-Barrett’s work is influencing global change and shaping future leaders of tomorrow here.

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