What will you do if you are being asked by Government Official to pay a bribe to get company work done? What will be consequences of refusing to bribe? What will be management's reaction?
I have come across a book by Gireesh Sharma - I Refused to Bribe and all these questions are coming to my mind.
What will you do when asked to bribe?

From India, Delhi
Dear Avantika,

Refusing to pay the bribe shows your personal values. Very good. Keep it up!

Now my appreciation apart, you need to take into consideration your company's culture and mindset of your boss as well. What are his/her values? Reply to this question you would know better. You have refused to pay the bribe but then what kind of work that may get stuck with Govt officials? Stung by refusal will they create some other problem for you?

I know MNC wherein the management was very strict about payment of any bribes to anyone. They were ready to put up with hardship. Since this was the company's culture, senior management always supported junior management employees as far as payment of kickbacks was concerned. In contrast, I have seen companies where leadership did not give any regard to white money. Black dealings were quite attractive to them.

At this stage, it is important for you to keep your seniors in the loop of information. Write e-mail/letter to them. In your report, write details like what was the instance, whether any Govt official visited your company premises or you visited any Govt office, who had asked for illegal payment, when they had asked, for what purpose they had asked and what was the amount they were expecting.

If the amount asked is too big then with the consent of your management, you may report the matter Anti Corruption Bureau. ACB is very good at ensnaring such culprits.


Dinesh V Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Hi Avantika,

Kudos to you for refusing !!!

I fully endorse Dinesh's comments.

However, I would ask Dinesh, (and other members) what amount is considered "too big" ?

Surely, it is a question of principle and not amount. For, once a bribe is paid, even if it is a small amount, the demands will only escalate over time.... and then it is too late to question.

We also need to consider, what constitutes a bribe.

Is it only a sum of money or can it also be material gift, such as those given under the guise of "promotional" or "marketing" material.

Is taking a client out to lunch, be considered a bribe?

In our organization, we maintain a Register of Gifts, where all gifts, received and given are recorded in detail , (including Lunches. etc.) This register is maintained by the staff themselves and is located in our reception area for all to see. The record also details what happened to the gift; if it was kept by the employee; kept by the company or given to charity. Whilst, I accept that this system is open to abuse, our experience has shown that, so far, the employees have been honest.

I look forward to further inputs.



From United Kingdom, Barrow
What about the HR & Consultant nexus wherein HR & Consultant both share the benefits of backdoor entry jobs + HR Himself recruits employee and routes it through known consultant so that the known consultant can make money. That is allowed but paying bribe to some govt staff for their extra interest and dedication in work is bribe and unethical. Most bribes are offered by MNC Management themselves to avoid the huge legal penalty for wrong doings and to adjust bribe is paid to staff..
From India, Madras
Hello Avantika.Kumar,

I am not really sure IF you are asking for the comments of the members for a GENERIC query OR are referring to an ACTUAL situation--your wordings DON'T seem to indicate that some actual situation is being referred to.

Can you pl clarify & give more details?

However, the responses of Dinesh, Harsh & Ravi convey the response situations succinctly, in general.

In general, Corruption is as prevalent in the Private Sector as much as in the Public/Government sectors--except that such situations rarely come-out into the public domain for a few simple reasons.

If any public official gets caught, the media catches the news fast & the news becomes public. One also has statutory bodies like CVC, CAG, etc to keep track of such issues.

But if a private sector official gets caught, the matter is, MOST LIKELY, hushed-up [even though the official is terminated], for fear of the company name getting tarnished [the individual anyway doesn't publicize it]. How many private sector companies can actual afford such bodies?

Looking @ the corruption situations among the public bodies, they are the recipients. But who are the 'GIVERS"? Obviously, most often, the private sector companies and/or individual citizens.



From India, Hyderabad
Dear Avantika,
HR experts have given their views and TS has raised a valid question. I am not a HR person; however, in my private life have suffered for refusing to pay a bribe. My father used to use a simple definition. A bribe is something that you pay in advance to get a favourable decision or speed up the decision. A gift is something that you may give out of pleasure. There is no compulsion to give a gift. However, if a bribe is not paid one may have to wait or suffer.
I searched the web and found good pieces at Gifts and Bribes and Gifts, Bribery And Corruption | Feature Article 2005-12-31
Even foreign firms pay bribe to get orders, etc., from developing and underdeveloped countries. All the SCAMS that we here in the Indian press are due to this problem.

From United Kingdom
Dear TS
I appreciate your curiosity and asking the right questions. One may consider another possibility, creating a buzz and promoting/ e-marketing the book !!
It might be interesting to know that the author Mr. Gireesh Sharma, is an honoured member of CiteHR.com and has 275 posts (including 78 threads) to his credit, although almost all his posts are about promoting a particular software of an Indian company.
Warm regards.

From India, Delhi
Dear Avantika

Nice to read many good suggestions and apprications in this regard.

This is very common phenomena for companies or corporates who had more often dealing with beaurocracy of our beloved country. But every one of us come to such a point when we have to deal with them, how much unwilling we may be. This is the time when all of our negotiation, interpersonal and management skills are tested along with fight against our internal self. We have to take this professionally, many time more things are on stake rather just then our internal counciousness, growth and future benefits of our employs, interests of company and our nation also at stake sometime, but these govt. Officials only think of them self.

My suggestion is report to your seniors,, they may be in batter position to deal with this situation then you, like having higher contacts, previllage of some power center in govt. Also many organizations have a specialist team to deal with these kind of matters who are more experienced to deal with these people. But most of time everyone is not aware about it at lower levels.

And please releave yourself from feeling of guilt, we have to learn to fight with system, while we work with system. We can not acpect overnight change in it.

Good luck and have happy life.

From India, Patiala
Dear All,
I am at one with Harsh .What is too big or a small amount ? I am working in an airline in cargo section.On one side is Customs department and on the other Govt Commercial Tax department whose clearance is a must before any cargo is delivered.Practically from every party they take bribe.This is a national malaise and would take decades to change.Anyway congrats for being upright !

From India, New Delhi
It seems a question tactically placed for promotion of a book. Even though, This topic validates its importance that's why attracted so many replies.
No doubt this practice can not be supported ethically, but, in practical how many companies can survive without it. I have seen so called MNCs claiming strict management policy push their vendors/ consultants to offer under table money and other goodies to settle the situation in their favour.

From India, Mumbai

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