We’ve been talking a lot here lately about the perils of corruption and its overall impact to the global economy. And we’ve also been seeing something of a resurgence of willingness on behalf of world governments to tamp down corrupt activities – think of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, enforcement around the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and even the UN’s recent Anti-Corruption Day, which was so designated as a way to draw attention to the state of corruption around the global. (By the way, in case you missed it: the UN’s anti-corruption campaign is called ACT (Against Corruption Today), hence the title of this blog.)
Maybe it’s not surprising, but statistics seem to show that most organizations feel that while they are winning the battle with corruption within their enterprise, the world at large isn’t doing so good. The Network recently conducted an online survey where we asked participants to tell us how they perceived corruption within their own companies as well as elsewhere. Less than one in ten felt that corruption was increasing in their organization, while seven in ten felt that global corrupt conduct was on the rise. While not as dramatic, the same trend held true for their perceptions of corruption at the national level.
The reasons for corporate corruption? About two out of every three participants said corruption was caused either by bad morals or a culture that supported it. That’s distressing, given that almost every global enterprise is working – somehow, someway – to build ethical environments where corrupt conduct should not be able to thrive.
What weapons do you use in the battle? My colleague Clark Bosley recently blogged about a new book by Ernst & Young called Bribery and Corruption that says that training and communication as the leading ways to fight corruption. Our survey agrees: Two out of three say that codes of conduct and other forms of awareness along with employee training are their most useful tools to reduce the drag from corruption.
It seems as no-brainer that fraud in the form of corruption hurts us all, but unfortunately, for some it’s simply the accepted way of doing business. But as global companies gain momentum in their efforts to build more ethical enterprises which do not condone corrupt practices – as they ACT out – trends will change for the better. Still, it’s an uphill process.