And It All Started with a Car Wash: Layers of Corruption in the Petrobras Scheme

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CASE STUDY. The case focuses on how corruption spread at Petrobras and the company’s responses to the crisis beginning in March 2014.

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And It All Started with a Car Wash: Layers of Corruption in the Petrobras Scheme: Abstract

Petrobras is a multinational oil and gas company publicly traded in Brazil and international stock markets including the New York Stock Exchange. The company’s controlling shareholder is Brazil’s federal government. Political influence was at the centre of Petrobras’s participation in a massive corruption scheme revealed in 2014. Brazil’s Federal Police launched Operation Car Wash, a series of investigations disclosing a wide-ranging corruption scheme involving Petrobras, many politicians, and the country’s leading construction firms.

Teaching objectives

  • Identify various corrupt practices in organizations, including bribery, fraud, and bid rigging.
  • Analyze organizational corruption as an umbrella concept including various corrupt practices such as bribery, fraud, and bid rigging.
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different governance structures in relation to corruption.
  • Examine management practices adopted in response to a legitimacy crisis related to corrupt practices.
  • Evaluate the assumptions underlying an organization’s actions in response to a legitimacy crisis.
  • Propose alternative organizational approaches to responding to a corruption scandal.

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Teachers notes are available for teachers only. Please contact the HEC Montréal Case Centre.

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