The Airbus bribery scandal: A collective myopia perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on collective myopia as a lens, we explore the infamous Airbus bribery scandal to show how the executives of the global aircraft manufacturer, through their actions and behaviours, institutionalised the payment of bribes to secure contracts. Data for the inquiry consist of publicly available court-approved documents, company website and internal emails, and newspaper articles on the scandal. Unpacking the bribery scheme operated by Airbus, we found that bribing of foreign government officials and airline executives to secure contracts was part and parcel of the firm's organising strategy. In this regard, the organising practices of Airbus actively encouraged employees to break its own bribery compliance policies which they employed as smokescreens to cover their illegal activities. Building on our findings, we developed a collective myopic-bribery framework outlining how the collective myopia in organising drove the bribery activities at Airbus. The implications of the findings for theory and practice are outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654-670
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Management Review
Issue number4
Early online date2 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Airbus
  • bribery
  • collective myopia
  • organising practices
  • scandals


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