Anonymous Polling, Focus Groups and “Organizational Justice” Help Companies Avoid FCPA Violations While Growing Revenue
Rebecca Hughes Parker
The notion that anti-bribery compliance and revenue generation are at odds has a superficial appeal and a long tradition. But the notion does not hold up under theoretical scrutiny, and it has been discredited empirically. As a theoretical matter, it makes good sense that a culture of ethics and excellence leads to high long-term returns, while a culture of bribery leads to misallocation of resources, among other problems. And as an empirical matter, deep research by CEB (formerly the Corporate Executive Board), along with CEB’s extensive advisory experience, highlight a strong correlation between long-term revenue growth and a corporate culture of integrity. “Integrity capital,” as CEB calls it, is not just the right thing to do or, less charitably, applied sanctimoniousness. Rather, it is good business and effective strategy. Working from an interview with Tracy Davis Bradley, a senior director at CEB; a recent article by Dan Currell, an executive director at CEB, and Bradley in the Harvard Business Review; as well as research provided to The FCPA Report by CEB, this article sheds light on some of the footpaths connecting ethics and revenue. In particular, this article outlines specific steps that companies can take to avoid FCPA violations while simultaneously driving business growth; why the shaky economy may be driving bribery in developing countries; how integrity capital can help businesses’ bottom lines; how companies can make their hotlines more effective; how anonymous polling and focus groups, if done well, can yield surprisingly good results; and why companies should not only consistently and quickly punish offenders, but give recognition to employees who report wrongdoing.