High Risk or High Reward? The Gamble You Play When Dealing With Sales Agents Overseas

Jul 2, 2015 3:00 PM ET

When is corruption and bribery OK in a company or organization? When does upper management or C-level executive condone the activity of bribery? The answer is supposed to be never, but the harsh reality is that when it comes to business and the elusiveness of not being caught plays a major role in this happening, the thought of won deals and contracts outweighs the possible penalties.

The risk a company takes when dealing with sales agents overseas is large and poses a threat for a breach of possible corruption and bribery. Richard Bistrong, a writer for the FCPA Blog Website writes how employees sometimes make it an excuse for their bribery actions in order to meet their goal of closing deals. What many don’t understand, says Bistrong, is that being on the front lines is often where this type of action usually happens and it is the way business is done.    

“In the field, especially in low-integrity regions where corruption might be seen as the norm, there's often a lethal mix of end users, intermediaries, and even competitors who all share a corrupt intent. Relativity sets in, and thinking becomes, in this place, everyone plays unfair.

Realistically, it is all about survival, and the idea that everyone plays nice is fading. The more global expansion happens within companies the more reality kick in for agents working on your behalf may be opening your company to risk.

If this is known practice, then why are companies so eager to increase global sales? The answer is simple, increased market value. Of course this may come at a price, as it has been seen that conducting unethical practices can be much more costly then following the rules.

Companies need to understand that agents working on their behalf are still liable for any unethical issues that may arise. If companies are willing to under go the exposure when dealing with agents in high-risk areas, then they should have internal programs in place that will then reflect down to their 3rd parties. If you’d like to see how this can all be done click through a series if guidelines, click here