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Bribery Can Impact Employees. Here’s How

21st Dec 2018
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Did you know, 44% of US citizens believe that corruption exists in the White House? This stunning a revelation was made after a survey, the US Corruption Barometer 2017, conducted by Transparency International. In 2016, nearly 35% Americans believed that corruption was pervasive in this key institution of power. Not only that, in 2017, nearly 70% Americans did not believe that the government was successful in combating corruption.

In 1977, the Congress passed The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to identify and put a stop to unethical and corrupt practices prevalent in multi-national companies, which were using their company’s assets as bribes to maintain or obtain business. Their bribery efforts also included tax savings and gaining unfair competitive advantages.

Any sort of bribery, even representing cash flows as travel expenses or consultation fees, corrupt payments through third party intermediaries, and any off the book accounting should be considered an FCPA fraud, explains an article by the Whistleblower Justice Network.

Bribery & Corruption

Bribery is the act of giving a physical thing or a favor to influence the recipient in some way that can cause profit to the person who is giving the bribe.

When people in powerful positions, such as government officials or police officers, abuse the power entrusted to them for their personal gain, they are said to be corrupt. Depending on the amount of money involved and the impacted sector, corruption can be classified as political, small or grand.

Bribery is illegal and a punishable offense in the United States, and everywhere else on this planet. However, most acts of bribery are never discovered or reported. There are whistleblowers who try to raise their voice against such acts of corruption. They work to shed light on poor enforcement of rules, shady deals and illicit practices. However, the numbers are few and far between. More people need to come forward to report corruption if we really want to see a difference being made in corrupt practices.

Impact of Corruption & Bribery on Employee Performance & Morale

People believe bribery to be the way business is done or a “necessary evil.” However, this attitude only makes it difficult to combat such unethical business practices. Bribery not only negatively impacts our economy, it poses further challenges to legitimate businesses that are attempting to honestly compete in the business world.

For businesses that are guilty of bribery, fines and regulatory actions seem to be the only major consequences. However, research published by Harvard Business School revealed that bribery has a negative effect on employee morale as well.

When employees know that they are working for an organization where the management has not only tolerated but also practiced bribery, they are less likely to put their best into their work.

The sales teams of businesses where products value less than the payoff will not spend their time developing strategies that differentiate their product from the rest in the market, or even on strategizing for effective product promotion.

In this unethical chaos, the efforts made by sincere employees are often marginalized by the act of bribery. In the end, they only feel like quitting the company and also do so, when things go beyond tolerance.

How to Fight Bribery

Businesses need to develop corporate guidelines against corruption and bribery. These guidelines should clearly outline the workplace ethics. Corporate houses should ensure proper anti-corruption training for their staff.

If employees find that the organization and senior management are guilty of bribery, they need to alert the right authorities. There are organizations working to support and strengthen whistleblowers to report unethical practices at their workplace. Learning more about such support can help build courage to bring such practices to the limelight.

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