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New strategies and technologies can limit anti-bribery spending

A stronger company culture and new technology make anti-bribery policies possible

With Alcoa and NCR Corp. showing a renewed governmental focus on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, it’s clear that companies still have work to do to instill anti-bribery mechanisms into the corporate structure. Especially as 25 percent of companies in a recent Control Risks survey said there was at least a “somewhat likely” chance they would need to investigate a bribery claim in the next two years, the need for stronger controls has never been greater.

But of course, instituting stronger controls means spending more cash, and for some companies, simply allocating more funds to compliance isn’t a feasible option. Luckily, though, new technologies and strategies have made anti-bribery compliance even easier without having to spend more.

The first part of compliance, says the Guardian, is understanding the pressures of individual company members. If someone believes his or her job may be on the line if he or she does not pay a bribe, most people will not think twice. However, by offering available support — and making sure employees understand that the support is available and why — employees will not feel as great of pressure to give in to bribery. This is especially important for employees working in a country without strong anti-corruption laws.

One way to influence good decision-making is to provide employees the tools to make a more-informed decision at all times. A checklist could help employees sort their thoughts and understand the steps they should take to close a deal without providing bribes. Or, as the Guardian points out, free apps such as the Say No toolkit from the Institute of Business Ethics can help employees identify sticky situations and let them choose the correct response.

Finally, setting a company-wide anti-corruption culture is essential to supporting compliance efforts. As the Guardian notes, “Leaders who regularly talk about ethical issues, support staff to uphold ethical standards and behave in an open and transparent way send the message to all employees, and to the wider world, that the fight against corruption is taken seriously.”

However, leaders need to do more than just set an example: They need to use employees’ motivations and make anti-bribery a goal. As Ashley Watson notes in InsideCounsel’s February issue, bribery issues can be thought of differently in other cultures outside the U.S. For multinational companies, it may be helpful to frame the issue in a different way. As Watson says, “For these employees, the more effective message may be about compliance with the FCPA and similar laws, emphasizing the potential liability, brand impact and business risks of non-compliance.”


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Zach Warren

Zach Warren is Assistant Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he oversees online content submissions and administers InsideCounsel's enewsletters. Zach specializes in new media and multimedia...

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