The overall outlook for India remains positive with its economic
growth expected to accelerate. Sadly bribery and corruption continue
to pose a significant challenge in India, threatening said economic
growth. Not only has it stunted the country’s growth but it has also
held the economy from reaching new heights.
The many scams over the last few years committed or said to
have been committed by powerful people. Those same people who
have the position to safeguard the countries resources and image but
who have allegedly misused their status and standing to do the exact
Recent news reported in the media currently is with regard to
corruption within the business sector.
THE BUSINESS ANGLE
Whether it is Vijay Mallya or Nirav Modi or Lalit Modi, these highly
“successful” men have hogged the limelight with their loot and
scoot antics. These are the high-profile, absconded, with their net
worth, and their looted amounts going into thousands of crores. but
a huge amount of lower rung copycats who thankfully are
dealing with smaller amounts but when added up together, reaches
alarming and threatening heights.
THE GLOBAL ANGLE
Transparency International, a Berlin-based NGO working against
corruption spoke to nearly 22,000 people across 16 countries in the
Asia-Pacific to understand the levels of corruption in the region.
While India remains the most corrupt country in this region, with 69
percent bribery rates, Japan came out as the least corrupt nation,
with a 0.2 percent bribery rate, the report said.
THE DOMESTIC ANGLE
The present Government, which came to power on promises of
curbing corruption, is working in the right direction. Report by the
same Transparency International showed that 51 percent Indians
believe that the government is doing well in keeping a check on
corruption. Though this figure might have changed, based on the
current scam hogging the headlines.
Faced with a crisis of confidence in the management of its state-run
banks, the government has promised action.
All very well. However, this is denting the economy in a big way.
As we all know and umpteen studies have shown corruption
• Transaction costs mostly are borne by the middle and below
classes while the super rich go, or seem to go, scot-free
• Uncertainty in the economy
• Lowers efficiency all round
• Inhibits the development of a healthy marketplace
• Distorts economic and social development
• Promotes cynicism and distrust
Corruption, real or perceived does hurt the economy. It forces
investors to check venture strategy and create an unfair
competition in a distorted free market.
ATTACK THE PROBLEM
So what is the real solution to Bribery and corruption?
Wherever we turn to, in the world, whether to developed countries or emerging regions,
one thing is very clear. Progress is being stifled
by corruption and bribery.
If we turn to logic then the best way to solve this dilemma would be
through processes, structures, and rules.
Whatever logic throws up by way of a solution, they are all doable to
a certain extent to curb corruption and bribery.
However,r the main and foremost solution would be senior leadership
setting an example. This means the captains of industry and the
leaders of the government, showing by example that being ethical is
actually good for business in this 21st-century scenario.
This does not stop here. They also have to proactively show
and encourage it. Water flows from top to bottom, and an ethical
work culture also has to follow that route. The top management has
to set the standard and the rest will mostly follow.
What is happening today is the top management is setting the
trend with regard to corruption and bribery and this is causing an
an inverse effect, and contributes to promoting C & B on all levels.
Case examples are the three infamous persons mentioned above. All
they cared for were themselves and their greed got the better of
They were all captains of industry and they all corrupted the pools of
business around them having no thought for the effect their actions
would have on the banks in question, the companies and the
thousands of people who work for them and the country in general.
Leaders have to be the best they can be. They have to lead lives transcending their personality.
They have to be ethical and empathetic. This kind of leaders can help find a long-term solution to
corruption and bribery.
Tolstoy said, “Everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants
to change themselves”. Exceptions to this, leaders who are not scared
of changing themselves, are the leaders who will bring about a long
term solution to corruption and bribery.
NEW MILLENIA APPROACH
A study by IBM in 2015 highlighted that millennials are more
interested in their bosses being ethical, fair, transparent and sharing
information. While the earlier generation rated ‘recognition from
their manager’ very highly.
Longterm solution to C & B is to build enduring societies based on
suitable ethical behavior.
An upsetting issue is that for many people in India corruption is not
actually the problem, it is the solution.
Corruption is the process that gets a child into a good school or gets a
person the vital health care needed. So for many, corruption provides
a consistency and stability that they comprehend, is the way to get
themselves what they want, when they want it.
This does not mean they actually like bribing someone, just that they
are safe in the conviction that things can get done.
This has to change and it can with a lot of effort and education.
What it requires is an ethos of transparency, accountability and
efficiency in administrative and financial management. On the flip
side prevention fails because people use their intelligence or cunning
as one may call it, to circumvent the system or the rules in an
organization and hence the handling of corruption then becomes
Looking around the world India can draw comfort from countries
like the United Kingdom and Senegal who have actually improved their
ratings as they moved up the Corruptions Perception Index 2017.
Of course, quite a few countries also slipped down that same scale like
Australia. Another country Hungary slipped from 55 to 45 over 6
years, becoming one of the more alarming examples.
Ironically New Zealand, Australia’s geographic neighbor is ranked
first on the scale making it the highest ranked with Denmark a very
John Knights, an expert in Emotional Intelligence and a thinking
leader in ‘Transpersonal Leadership ‘says what is needed now in this
21 st century to challenge the scourge of Corruption and bribery is
Simply put it is – Leaders who extend beyond the personal or
individual and who go beyond the usual limits of ego and personality.
They are radical, authentic and emotionally intelligent and caring.
They help embed in the organization ethical and emotionally
intelligent behaviors into the DNA of the organization.
They help build strong, empathetic and collaborative relationships
within and also with all the stakeholders.
They also help create a performance-enhancing culture that is
ethical, caring and sustainable.
We are living in the 21st century. The age of information. Knowledge
is power. Communication is fundamental. Knowledge and information are available to everyone
. It becomes imperative
that the leader is the person who has the required knowledge in time.
Most leaders today are ego-based leaders. Their decisions are usually
driven by profit, power and recognition.
Reward is the result.
But the world has changed.
The ways we do transactions has changed.
This has been created by social and technological change.
As also by Globalisation and the growing concern for the future of
This has resulted in an unprecedented change in the demands of
leadership over the last 10-15 years.
So when emotionally intelligent leaders, who go beyond their egos
and make decisions factoring in other stakeholders, that according to
John Knights, in business terms, is what ‘spirituality’ is.
Bringing in ‘spirituality’ in business is what is going to be key in
combating or at the very least managing corruption and bribery.
This is the solution in our 21st century to tackling corruption and
bribery, which is slowly destroying the very fabric of our country as
it is also in many countries of the world today.
Once again pointing out that water flows from top to bottom, we
have to make sure that leaders who have the ‘spiritual’ quality are
nurtured and fostered to take over the reins and this will gradually
filter down through the ranks, positively affecting the hierarchy at all
This will take huge investments of all sorts, but it will slowly but
surely, obliterate or at least better manage corruption and bribery.