For centuries, varying laws and cultures experienced by businesses in foreign business environments increase the complexity in the distinction of gifts from bribes. Notably, most developing countries lack strict laws governing issuing and receiving gifts and bribes. Other countries, such as Canada, strictly prohibit business officials from issuing bribes to achieve business favors. However, the transfer of gifts in some culture depict appreciation, love and respect, gifts, just as bribes can influence the recipient’s decisions. At this point, it becomes hard to differentiate a gift from a bribe. Therefore, it is prudent for the recipient to consider the motives and impacts of tokens from other parties before accepting them. As a Canadian working the European MNC mentioned in the case study in question, I would decline to pay the $20,000 requested by the Nigerian official for several reasons, which I will demonstrate in this essay.
The Payment Contravenes the Canadian Law and My Ethical Principles
Arguably, although my boss defines the $20,000 as a gift to the Nigerians, I find the payment to have more qualities of a bribe than a gift. Noteworthy, people or companies should offer gifts unconditionally and voluntarily. Further, there is transparency when one party is offering gifts to another (Schwartz, 2017). However, in the case of the European MNC and the Nigerian officials, the $20,000 payment request from the recipient and my boss requires me to make the payment because I am sure that our company will win the order over the other two companies. Also, the Nigerian official does not encourage transparency since they request the payment to make secretly. For these reasons, I would decline to pay the money to the Nigerian officials, as the payment amounts to bribery. This act contravenes the Canadian laws and my ethical principles.
The Risks Outweigh the Benefits
Another reason I would decline to pay $20,000 to the Nigerian official is that the practice does not assure me of the welfare of my company and its stakeholders. There more risks than perceived benefits that I and the European MNC stand experience if I agree to make the above payment. For instance, there are chances that the company may not win the order even after paying the $20,000 to the Nigerian officials. Also, paying the Nigerian official makes the company, its stakeholders, and directors susceptible to legal suits, which would mean financial loss and business reputation damage (Stapenhurst et al., 2016). Therefore, due to the company directors’ welfare, stakeholders, reputation, and job security, I would decline to pay any bribes to the Nigerian officials.
Promotes Unethical Competition
Additionally, the reaction and decisions of the other two competing companies are unknown. Therefore, if I agree to bribe the Nigerian official, I will promote unhealthy business competition, an unethical practice. Besides, the unethical competition, agreeing to the payment request promotes and nurtures corruption in both the country of operation of the European company and Nigeria. Notably, it affects the giver and the recipient only but also the giver’s home country (Schwartz, 2017). Also, paying the $20,000 makes the European company corrupt, affecting its public relations with foreign countries doubtable.
In conclusion, this essay provides several valid reasons why I would decline to pay $20,000 to the Nigerian official as a Canadian working in a European multinational company. First, paying the above-stated money to the Nigerian official amounts to bribery. Thus, agreeing to make the payment would compel me to violate my country’s laws prohibiting bribery. Further, bribery guarantees no benefits, but I, the company’s stakeholders, and directors face several risks such as legal suits, reputational damage, and job loss. Lastly, paying the $20,000 promotes unethical business competition and may also nurture corruption in foreign countries which may be difficult for nations to eradicate.
Schwartz, M. (2017). Business ethics: An ethical decision-making approach. John Wiley & Sons.
Stapenhurst, F., Karakas, F., Sarigöllü, E., Jo, M., & Draman, R. (2016). The supply and demand sides of corruption: Canadian extractive companies in Africa. Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, 23(1), 60-76. Web.