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03 décembre 2017
Fighting against corruption in the Himalayas

Bertrand Venard, Professor in management at Audencia Business School has conducted a scientific programme to fight against corruption in the homeland of Gross National Happiness, the Bhutan.

A small, quiet country perched on top of the Himalayan range, Bhutan has achieved immense results in the fight against corruption. The homeland of Gross National Happiness is one of the poorest countries, but also one of the least corrupt on the planet. Indeed, the poor nations are often the most corrupt. One of the reasons for this Bhutanese success stems from an effective legislative and institutional framework to fight crime. An emblematic tool of this fight, the Bhutan Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), did not wish to sleep on its laurels and decided to undertake scientific research to understand the reasons for the fight against corruption and find innovative solutions to answer this type of crime.

After launching a call for international applications in 2015, the CCA selected Bertrand Venard to conduct scientific studies on the subject, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. As Scientific Director, Bertrand Venard has led a team of six researchers and 10 other collaborators. To ensure success, an important component was to set up and conduct a training plan for the teams, in particular to train researchers in Bhutan. Bertrand Venard has been named Fellow of the Royal Institute of Management of Bhutan. Subsequently, two empirical studies have been carried out in the mining sector and in the human resources management of the Bhutanese civil service. Hundreds of interviews and dozens of site visits have already been made. More than 1500 questionnaires have been collected. A conference has been held attended by the prime minister of Bhutan and various other ministers.

The research team not only developed a detailed analysis of the corruption phenomenon, but also made recommendations to the Government of Bhutan: recommendations that have been implemented. The project is now in a comparative analysis phase, gathering information on successful anti-corruption experiences in other countries. In addition, Bertrand Venard travels regularly to Bhutan to lead working groups and collect additional information.

This scientific program is a successful example of rigorous research that is scientifically and socially useful. Indeed, this research aims to reduce the level of corruption in a strategic economic sector for Bhutan: the mining industry. It is also about making management of the public service more sophisticated, in order to increase integrity. This research in Bhutan is part of a large program of various scientific studies conducted over the last 15 years by Bertrand Venard on fraud (including corruption and cybersecurity). For example, he was the coordinator of a PRME project (Principles for Responsible Management Education) in the United Nations, about anti-corruption training. Bertrand Venard has also received various awards for his research, such as the Sloan Fellowship (USA), Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (Great Britain) or the Marie Curie Fellowship (European Union). In 2014, he was invited to New York by the United Nations to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Global Compact along with the most influential people fighting corruption.

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