JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT POLICY AND PRACTICE
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002: Relationship to Magnitude of Financial Corruption and Corrupt Organizational Cultures
Author(s): Mikhail A. Gorshunov, Achilles A. Armenakis, Hubert S. Field, Brian Vansant
Citation: Mikhail A. Gorshunov, Achilles A. Armenakis, Hubert S. Field, Brian Vansant, (2020) "The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002: Relationship to Magnitude of Financial Corruption and Corrupt Organizational Cultures," Journal of Management Policy and Practice, Vol. 21, Iss. 2, pp. 72-86
Article Type: Research paper
Publisher: North American Business Press
Absent field research that responds to whether the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) meets its goal to reduce financial corruption, our understanding of the effectiveness of SOX is incomplete. Because financial corruption results in a substantial adverse impact on a multitude of organizational stakeholders, such understanding is valuable to inform decisions on enforcement of SOX and develop effective regulatory interventions. The purpose of this study was to empirically assess the impact of SOX on financial corruption. We conducted a thorough review of 2,585 Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Releases available from the US Securities and Exchange Commission and identified 70 and 32 cases of financial corruption in large US corporations that occurred before and after SOX was enacted in 2002, respectively. Deceptive practices were typically pervasive, extended over multiple years, involved large stakeholder damages, and perpetrated by senior leaders (e.g., CEOs, CFOs, VPs, boards of directors). We provided empirical evidence that SOX effectively reduced corrupt behaviors. Namely, the financial restatement magnitude, a measure of the magnitude of financial corruption, declined after SOX compared to before SOX. Also, the perpetrator group size, a measure of the extent the organizational sub-culture was corrupt, was smaller after SOX was enacted. This study has novel implications that offer important contributions to research and practice.