Bribery and corruption are a current primary public concern in most of the countries. It is partly attributable to the corruption press coverage regarding the public officials. Most OECD countries have enacted the legislation that prohibits bribery in the foreign public official level. Mainstream economists are also on the rise of focusing on the bribery factor in the business sector. They recognize bribery as a primary impediment for economic development and a subject that is worth policy redress and academic scrutiny. Both the International Monetary Fund and the known World Bank have established high profile commitments that aims at eradicating corrupt practices in their sector. This mainly includes the lending operations and in the execution of transactions that emanate from the operations (Ferrell; et al. 2010). However, one of the most affected sectors which are international business has also strived in the creation of anti-bribery compliance programs and commitments.
In a majority of the countries, political officials have deep engagement in commercial businesses. A typical qualified citizen without status to their name may not have the ability of working in such businesses since they are not familiar closely with any of the government’s top echelons. In a nation whereby the government has total or heavy corruption involvement, the officials expect bribing and befriending in order to accomplish their goals. International businesses might gain several advantages through the offering of bribes to top government officials. However, it poses a big disadvantage towards other organizations, thus proving to be an unfair business practice (Weiss, 2009).
When working in a different nation, it might be very simple to forget one’s moral standards. The result that follows is that one falls into the trap of the greed of making huge quantities of profits with no limitations. Sometimes when people are not responsible for the deeds that they commit, it makes them end up with careless attitudes towards their country’s people, resources and environment. Polluting the nation’s environment, evading taxes and not following the standard employment practices are all illegal and unethical. However, when one lives in an environment whereby people execute illegal activities most of the time, they tend to generate the feeling that they will not become accountable for the illegal actions that they commit (Jennings, 2010).
Businesses face trust and integrity issues when it comes to handling financial responsibilities. A basic comprehension of integrity has the inclusion of the idea of committed and honest business affairs conduction. The people involved also entitle to the fair treatment of customers regularly. When a company’s customers perceive its unwavering commitment exhibition towards ethical business practices, a high level of integrity may develop between the people and the business. However, with the presence of vices such as bribery, the image of a business becomes tarnished. This will cause an absence of integrity hence the business is likely to deteriorate in terms of customers and profits.
On the other hand, the government expects businesses to fully comply with the federal and environmental laws and regulations (Weiss, 2009). All businesses should conduct their activities and various operations in compliance with their organizational conduct policies. Contrary to this, the business operates illegally hence risking its perpetual life span. Many organizations involve themselves in various illegal issues with the aim of acquiring more profits and clients. However, it is evident that clients cannot be willing to engage themselves with an organization known to conduct illegal business. In addition, investors will be reluctant in engaging in lucrative partnerships with such companies. This is because it poses a risk to their investments since eventually they will get into legal problems.
International organizations face confrontations from a variety of decisions that generate ethical dilemmas for those that need to make the decisions. Whether the activity is right or wrong depends on the deduction of true value from a certain culture’s attitude. Some of the ethical standards appear to be a bit culture specific. However, one should not find amazement with the fact that people consider a deed to be ethical in a given culture but the same concept regarded unethical in yet another culture. International businesses sometimes face difficult situations when involved in bribery and corruption activities without even realizing it. In some cultures, it, is ethically and morally acceptable to offer and receive bribes in order to get a specific business transaction accomplished (Boylan, 2014).
People offer bribes in different forms that include entertainment, money, huge favors or even gifts. Any kind of bribery carried out in the United States is unethical and illegal. On the other hand, the bribery act receives normal treatment in the Romanian country. Giving gifts in terms of appreciation is a deed considered a bribe in the United States of America, whereas, in Romania, it gets normal treatment because the intention behind it is mere appreciation. In Japan, an appreciation gift appears as a portion of the prime cost while the Germans consider it as a business expense that may be written off anytime.
There are people that consider bribery to be a norm. However, in the contextual sense of the laws of the country they live in, it may be a moral or ethical issue. Ethics is universal; thus people deem bribery as unethical whether it is a norm or not. It definitely leaves a permanent scar on the organization’s image, following exposure. Most individuals argue that bribes are beneficial. However, they should view the bigger picture whereby the benefits are always short term. Many create an assumption that the worst case scenario will never occur. One thing is evident bribery is and will always be unethical (Ferrell; et al. 2010).
Despite the fact that the international business community is not able to fight corruption and bribery all on its own, it still has a critical and active role to play. Some may argue that the management instruments used by various businesses in fighting against bribery are as vital as those used in providing successful outcomes in formal public and law enforcement. Most organizations have responded to the ethical and legal compliance challenges in this sector by utilizing the emerging management control techniques. These compliance efforts usually commence with the business ethics written expression that are substantial and relevant to the organizational activities.
This is at times known as the corporate conduct code. Such codes are commitment voluntary expressions, made to control or influence business behavior for the organization’s advantage together with the society in which it operates. For instance, one of the symbiotic benefits would be the enhancement of the organization’s reputation or image and to decrease the civil or criminal sanctions’ risks. Usually, the codes define the manner in which the organization intends to execute and implement its written commitments. The special management systems adoption serves as an accompaniment in the issuance of the conduct codes (Boylan, 2014). The management systems have a designation that assists organizations in the honoring of their commitments in their daily operations. The addressing of the codes primarily focuses on the employees just as the general public. They aim at heightening the employees’ awareness on corporate policy. In addition, they seek to enlist their total support in the eradication activities of bribery.
Moreover, the organizational support for the ethics program should be firm to bring out the importance of the concept fully. A formal program should be in placement in order to effectively implement the ethical codes. Every employee should go through the formal ethical training program that educates them on the organizational conducts. The training is undertaken by intercultural consultants only but also the managers in order to appear as role models of the organization towards the employees (Trevino; et al. 2011). Finally, the codes enforcement is an essential part of the implementation so that those that violate them undergo thorough ramifications.
Conflict Of Interest
Bribery takes various forms, but its genesis usually begins with the same issue. This genesis is a conflict of interest, which acts as the beginning of bribery. Whether a manager or executive chooses to hire their unqualified close relative or ally in their company, or an organization decides to do business with their relative, emanates from a form of bribery (Weiss, 2009). Conflict of interest can sometimes act as a guiding light towards the act of bribery. This unethical activity begins from a conflict of interest as its first outright step. In the broadest sense, most bribery acts originate from the involvement of a conflict of interest. This means that for an organization to have the right capable strategies of eradicating bribery in their businesses, they should first begin by identifying the various conflicts of interest. Through this, they will be able to control and manage bribery and corruption in their fields in an easier yet effective manner.
The OECD asserts that a conflict of interest takes place when a corporation or individual is in a position of exploiting their own official and professional capacity in either way for corporate or personal benefit. In simpler terms, it exists when a person can abuse their official position for their own selfish benefits. With this definition, it is succinct that bribery and conflict of interest are terms that intertwine within each other closely. Consequently, since the conflict of interest does not always result into bribery, bribery always needs a conflict of interest for it to occur. For instance, a person that receives a bribe puts their private gain, above their requirement of acting in the employer’s best interests. Therefore, there is both a conflict of interest and a resulting bribery. The mere deed of having a conflict of interest is not necessarily inevitable or inappropriate. After all, people cannot fault employees simply because of having family or financial connections to businesses that their managers decide to trade with. A vital aspect is the manner in which the employers and employees respond towards the conflicts of interest (Flynn, 2008). It is merely the response rather than the conflict that determines if the employee acts with or without integrity.
Management and employees’ correct responses to situations with conflicts of interest. In turn, they are dependent on awareness of its meaning and potential implications. This is not often as straightforward as it may sound. Bribery and conflicts of interest may be victims to varying interpretations. Criminal codes that relate to various conflicts of interest differ widely. This highly depends on the jurisdiction hence it is not very surprising when some employees misinterpret the concept. This particularly affects large multinational organizations that operate across various cultural, geographic and ethnical borders (Ferrell; et al. 2010). However, the globalization effects may imply that small local enterprises comprise of employees that differ in terms of value systems. Therefore, organizations that desire to enforce strong conflicts of interest policies should ensure that the employees comprehend them and become aware of the consequences and the manner of response. Moreover, an employee that does not comprehend the concept fully cannot react appropriately when such situations overcome them (Bowie, 2011).
Bribery and corruption disrupt the normal public policy decision making and typical business running by benefitting fewer citizens at the expense of the larger majority. It creates a huge distortion in the appropriation of human and financial resources to ineffective uses. These inefficient uses are often inconsistent with a world’s economic, political and social objectives and requirements. It poses as a large discouraging aspect towards small businesses, consumers and entrepreneurs that cannot afford the bribery costs. It also discourages the venturing of foreign investments. In addition, it damages the respect for financial, public and law institutions. It proceeds to undermine the effectiveness and credibility of both appointed and elected government officials and generates an environment that is conducive to crime, particularly in the private sector.
People should realize that what the citizens of a certain country may consider to be unethical might not be a similar case in another country. This often creates complexities in the effective conduction of global businesses. At one time, when the internet had not yet invented, the bribery concept was more of a question of willingly disrespecting one’s traditions and customs. However, in the current world there is so much that is at stake when people engage in bribery activities. One must also not tamper with other countries or businesses’ ethical codes, and at the same time remain truthful to one’s own country’s or businesses’ ethical code.
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