The Normalization of Corruption and Wells Fargo's 2 Million False Accounts

Management INK (Forthcoming)

Posted: 7 Dec 2016

See all articles by J.S. Nelson

J.S. Nelson

Villanova Law School; Villanova School of Business; The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; Institute for Corruption Studies

Date Written: December 5, 2016


My article on the "Normalization of Corruption" focuses on how that norm is built by individuals, spreads to companies, and then to industries. The headlines about widespread fraud at Wells Fargo follow the same patterns: cheating became the norm at Wells Fargo because of intense pressure from top executives; those top executives deny personal responsibility; and the legal system gives us few options to prosecute them for behavior that is otherwise widespread. Systemic fraud ensues. Wells Fargo created over 2 million unauthorized accounts for customers, charged at least $1.5 million in unwarranted fees for those sham accounts, and over 5,300 employees were involved.

Keywords: behavioral theory, business and government/political economy, law, corporate social responsibility, ethics, corporate culture

Suggested Citation

Nelson, Josephine, The Normalization of Corruption and Wells Fargo's 2 Million False Accounts (December 5, 2016). Management INK (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN:

Josephine Nelson (Contact Author)

Villanova Law School ( email )

299 N. Spring Mill Road
Villanova, PA 19085
United States

Villanova School of Business ( email )

800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085-1678
United States

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3730 Walnut Street
Room 668 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States

Institute for Corruption Studies

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics