Bribery: Not just a “Third World problem”

For converged communicators currently studying the political and legal environment in GEB3373 (that’s International Business), some interesting food for thought courtesy of the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26014387).

When we discuss the complications of international business and topics like bribery, people often think of small countries where the rule of law is nonexistent and the conditions of everyday life are substandard. But according to a recent report from the European Union, corruption and bribery are widespread even in the advanced economies of Europe.

Perhaps not surprisingly, several countries (such as the UK and Sweden) had very low levels of bribery. But in some others – Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Lithuania, and Romania – bribery seems to be widespread. In these countries, between 6% and 29% of respondents said they had been asked for a bribe or expected to pay a bribe within the preceding 12 months.

What does all this mean for international business? It means that it pays to take a closer look at the political and legal environment of a country before making assumptions about tolerance of practices such as bribery. Europe doesn’t come to mind quickly when we imagine places where a few extra dollars (or euros) can make the difference in a business transaction. But when it comes to corruption, no country is totally immune.

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