Bribery in business may be more common than we imagine. A huge 77% of board directors and senior managers are willing to justify bribery to help their businesses survive. One in three senior managers are even willing to offer payments in cash to win new business.
The new study, carried out by professional services company EY, has found that corruption is a global business issue. More than 1 in 2 of the 4,000 respondents, based across 41 countries, said that bribery and corruption are common practices in their businesses.
What about bribery policies?
When asked about anti-bribery policies, it seems senior managers feel differently about them than employees do. Just under 1 in 2 senior managers believe that they are communicating the importance of high workplace ethical standards. Yet only 1 in 3 employees feel that they have received this message from their managers. Even more worryingly, 1 in 3 employees said that they didn’t know anything at all about anti-bribery policies.
So why is this happening?
Managers and board members are under immense pressure to find new business. But that is nothing new, right? There are also huge pressures on businesses, particularly in the finance sector, to produce year-on-year revenue growth. Again, this is nothing new. What is new, however, is the new threats businesses are facing. Cyber attacks, and investigations into serious market manipulations, are changing the business landscape across many industries.
Overall the majority of respondents said that corruption is widespread in their countries. More than 1 in 2 respondents in rapid-growth markets said that “corrupt practices are happening widely”.
Under UK law, bribery is of course a punishable offence. Guilty parties can face very lengthy prison sentences.
Yet is it only natural that bribery is on the increase with these tougher working conditions, more pressure and steeper targets?
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