Poorly implemented compliance programs pose a risk to global organizations, giving them a false sense of security when making business decisions. This is because there may be a gap between the perceived effectiveness of a company’s program and reality, according to the study International Business Attitudes to Corruption by Control Risks.
Too often, organizations send mixed messages to employees, telling them, for example, that performance will be judged primarily by their ability to set financial targets and downplaying the importance of ethics. There is also an absence of senior management involvement in solving compliance issues.
“It is scarcely surprising that the employees who receive these messages are tempted to take unethical shortcuts,” according to the survey.
While more training programs are in place to teach employees about corruption than in the past, their quality may be lacking, since many fail to address potential day-to-day problems. Control Risks advised that companies pay attention to whistleblowers, noting that only 35% of organizations said they had conducted an internal investigation following a whistleblower complaint in the previous year. It also recommended that compliance teams be given adequate resources and training to help them to identify potential problems.