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Case between Bribery and Gratuity

Category 4: Cheating, Dishonesty, Plagiarism


George is a chemist is charge of technical sales of a struggling company. His first assignment is to travel overseas to secure a contract with one of the Persian Gulf nations, where he meets his contact, a highly placed government official. George's advance work has shown that his contact is particularly amenable to bribes. In fact, it is well known by George's industry (and by competitors for this contract) that bribery in this Persian Gulf country is “how things get done.”

George's company has a well-established reputation of honest dealings, and he is confident that he can compete effectively for this contract. Upon meeting the government official with whom he needs to negotiate, however, George is rebuffed. The government official graciously accepts George’s proposal, but puts it aside without looking at it. He inquires about his “gratuity”, as he calls it. George informs him that his company’s policy strictly prohibits bribery of any kind. The government official points to a stack of proposals from competitors and says “They understand how business is done here.” The official then dismisses George.

Upon returning to his hotel, George receives a message from his boss telling him that a different contract proposal that the company was counting on has been awarded to a competitor. George's boss says that 150 people were counting on him for their next paycheck. He also gives him Acomplete discretion” over the contract proposal, signing off with “We desperately need this contract for the company to survive.”

Stage 1

What action do you think WAS taken?

A. George made another appointment with K; reiterated his company’s no-bribe policy; but offered to re-work the proposal numbers.

B. George called his boss back and discussed specifically a one-time departure from the company no-bribe policy.

C. George reported the government official’s response to an international trade group.

D. George assumed unilateral control of the contract negotiations and provided the official with a gratuity that he rationalized was not an actual bribe by strict definitions.

Stage 2

What action do you think SHOULD have been taken?

A. George should resign immediately

B. George should convince his boss to provide funds for a gratuity that met legal definitions.

C. George should worked with the official without telling his boss, so he could protect his company.

D. George should assume unilateral control over the contract negotiations and signal the government official his willingness to discuss an appropriate bribe.