Incentive systems in anti-bribery whistleblowing

date01 April 2019
publishedDate01 April 2019
AuthorFabian Maximilian Johannes Teichmann
Incentive systems in anti-bribery
Fabian Maximilian Johannes Teichmann
Teichmann International AG, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Purpose While existing literature focusseson the causes and negative consequences of corruption, this
paper illustrates the potential use of whistleblowing incentives to combat bribery in multinational
corporations. The purpose of the present study is to highlight that anti-bribery mechanisms, which have
already beensuccessfully applied in the public sector, may alsobe deployed in multinational organisations.
Design/methodology/approach A two-step qualitative research process was used. Informal
interviews wereconducted with 35 corrupt public ofcials, followed by formalinterviews with 35 compliance
experts and law enforcement ofcers. During the interviews, the advantages and disadvantages of
whistleblowing incentives in multinational corporations were discussed. The intervieweesresponses were
subjectedto content analysis.
Findings The principal nding was that rewarding employees with signicantmonetary bonuses may
help to increase anti-briberywhistleblowing. However, such bonus payments should be made in only major
cases of briberyto safeguard multinational corporations,company cultures and trust among employees.
Research limitations/implications The ndings convey the perspectives of the 70 interviewees
based in Austria, Germany,Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
Practical implications The paper offers suggestions to multinational corporations on how to
effectivelycombat corruption and other forms of white-collar crime.
Originality/value While the empirical ndings are based on a European sample, the results may be
applied globally.
Keywords Whistleblowing, Corruption, Compliance, Bribery
Paper type Research paper
Twenty years ago, bribery was still commonly accepted in many parts of the world (DSouza,
2012, p. 74). However, corruption leads to inefcient use of resources, unfair redistribution of
income and secessionist responses (Levin and Satarov, 2000, p. 114f.; Argandoña, 2007, p. 482;
Collier, 2002, p. 6). Further potential consequences include unstable sociopolitical situations and
malcontent private citizens (Anderson and Tverdova, 2003, p. 104; Mo, 2001,p.67;Kim, 1999,
p. 249). As bribery requires secrecy, it also makes the enforcement of agreements very difcult
(Mauro, 1997,p.6;Bardhan, 1997,p.1320;Mauro, 1996,p.86;Bray, 2005,p.120).Theresulting
negative impact on the development of countries has led to the widespread outlawing of
bribery (Li et al., 2000, p. 156; Kaufmann et al.,1999,p.3).
Literature review
For this studys purposes, the denitions of bribery according to the OECDs Anti-Bribery
Convention and Transparency Internationals Corruption Perceptions Index were
amalgamated to denebribery as an act in which a party:
[...] intentionally abuses entrusted power for private gain by oering, promising, or giving any
undue pecuniary or other advantage, whether directly or through intermediaries, to a foreign
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.26 No. 2, 2019
pp. 519-525
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JFC-04-2018-0041
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