I want to start by pointing out an example of corruption. In November 2006 it was discovered that Siemens the German giant of electrical engineering and electronics is corrupted. Nearly 36. 000 documents were found of Siemens bribing officials in countries like Italy, Greece, Argentina and Saudi Arabia. Several managers were caught up in the corruption. There even was word of people saying that CEO Klaus Kleinfield approved of the bribery, this was never proven. The ethical behaviour of the managers was doubted. Was the corruption justified and in best interested of the company and are the managers responsible for it?
In my view the corruption isn’t justified. I understand that a little bribery can help the company forward, but it has to be in proportion. In this case payments over 420 million had been suspicious. In my opinion this money could be spend better. The advantages they gained of the bribery can be achieved in other ways too. And that money could be spend on investments or innovations for example. The question if the managers are responsible for the corruption is difficult. I think that employees get their assignments of the management, they decide on important things.
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So in a way it is their responsibility, but then again it is also their responsibility to stimulate the company to get better and be better. There is a pressure on the management to perform well and come with good results. Given that it is only logical that when a good opportunity comes up a good and loyal manager will do anything to take it. Een if a little bribery is needed. But I don’t think that the manager take decisions like that on his own. When I look at the numbers of the bribery in the Siemens company I doubt it strongly that the CEO didn’t know about it.
That amount of money must be noticed by the head of the company. I think this kind of corruption is almost a business strategy. It is easy to get what you want by only paying up an official. In ethical terms it isn’t justified at all. There should be an ethical behaviour that separate good for the bad behaviour. In this case the company’s ethics are gone. It appears that progress is only made by bribing. Everyone knows about ethics and the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ behaviour. But it is difficult because everything that is legal is not necessarily ethical.
The law serves as a useful basis for examining ethical behaviour because it embodies cultural values. The law provides a clearly defined set of rules, this in contrary to ethic rules, they are not clearly defined. The law contains rules that apply to everyone and there are consequents if you break the rules. There are legal consequents if you don’t behave ethically. There are some consequences of corruption. High levels of corruption result in lower rates of economic growth and lower levels of per capita income.
What’s being done about corruption? The U. S foreign corrupt practices act outlaws the payment of bribes by U. S firms to foreign officials, political parties, or party candidates. This law seems like a useful deterrent it doesn’t work as good as it was supposed to be. Federal government are busy with establishing an effective anti-bribery compliance program involve setting high standards, communicating those standards to relevant employees, educating employees regarding their expected behaviour, and monitoring compliance.
Finally, after discussing some aspects of bribery and corruption I want to answer the question if managers can be held responsible for corruption. At first I thought they were responsible for corruptive acts but I think corruption is a thing the whole company chooses for. And the whole board of the company is responsible. I don’t believe that only the managers are responsible, but they play a part in it. After all they are the ones who communicate with the employees, and give them tasks.