Research produced from the Henley Business School shows that managers are willing to pay bribes when trading overseas. The study interviewed over 900 business executives during a period of 12 years.
Although the research focused upon British managers, it also covered businesspersons from China, Ireland, Germany and Russia.
Andrew Kakabadse, professor of governance and leadership at Henley Business School, noted that: ‘These suspect business practices are typically committed by concerned managers who feel that they have no alternative other than to pull out of the country in question.’
That is to say businesses trading in the emerging economies feel as though they face the dilemma of either paying bribes or ceasing trading in that market.
Within certain countries, bribery is considered an accepted or even necessary component of doing business. For many companies, this is simply part of ‘local custom’.
These attitudes have been challenged by recent legal developments.
In 2012, the UK launched its Bribery Act, commonly considered one of the most stringent anti-corruption laws in the world. It became an offence under English law for a company to pay a bribe (or fail to prevent a bribe’s payment) anywhere in the world, as long as that firm traded in the UK.