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For Indian companies, growth trumps ethics

EY survey finds that most Indian employees feel their bosses will turn a blind eye to corruption

Published: Jul 4, 2017 06:41:35 AM IST
Updated: Jul 3, 2017 11:12:06 AM IST

For Indian companies, growth trumps ethics
23% of senior management in the Asia-Pacific region say they would deliberately misstate a company’s financial performance, according to an EY survey
Image: Shutterstock

A recent survey on corporate ethics and governance from EY has found that unethical practices are rife in India’s business community. Of the 1,698 employees who took part in the survey across 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, 100 respondents were from India. About 78 percent of them said bribery and corrupt practices occur widely in the country, compared to a regional average (percentage of all the all countries surveyed) of 63 percent.

Forty-eight percent of Indian respondents said it was regular to accept bribes in exchange for contracts, compared to a regional average of 35 percent. The rot, it seems, starts at the top. Fifty-seven percent of employees said senior managers would overlook questionable activity in favour of corporate growth, and one in four felt managers would ignore compliance controls.

A further 71 percent said they are not willing to use existing compliance hotlines at their companies, with one in four citing insufficient protection for whistleblowers as the problem.

The survey suggested improved third-party verification as one option to decrease fraud.

“I think the only way to reduce, if not eliminate, corporate corruption is computerise, computerise, computerise,” says Jagdish Sheth, professor of marketing at Emory University. “It makes giving and receiving the bribe harder and it is traceable.”  


(This story appears in the 21 July, 2017 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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