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Can Businesses succeed in a world of corruption?

How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists?

Differences between Bribery and Corruption

In this easy, aspects related to unethical practices such as bribe and corruption is defined along with the approaches of various ethical theories. In general, Bribery and corruption sound similar yet there are some differences between both of these terms. Bribe often involves money and two people such as bribe taker and bribe giver (Betz, 2017). This is to state that bribe is a payment of a valuable article or money in an illegal and unfair manner to a person who is in a position. It is a practice of offering something for an unethical or illegal act to do. The lead objective of a bribe is to manipulate the decision of the person in the official position. In other words, the bribe cans also defined as a payment of money to a person in charge as a meant to influence his/her decisions.

On the other side, corruption is a task or an act, which defeat the moral values, integrity, and/or principles. In comparison to bribe, it is a wider term. In a traditional sense, the same can be referred to as immorality (Holmes, 2015). However, the concept and meaning of corruption have changed over the past few years. In the recent years, the term Corruption got it is broad sense.

In a wider sense, ethics is a set of rules and principles that defined the moral values and evaluate that what is right and what is wrong (Deigh, 2010). This can be understood as a school that governs and regulates the human behavior Both Bribery and Corruption are significantly related to ethics. As mentioned earlier that ethics is subject related to governance and moral values, this would not be wrongful to say that corruption is highly prohibited under ethics. Bribery and Corruptions are unethical practices that consist of many of the issues and have immoral consequences.

In the current scenario, many of the people are using the practices such as bribe and corruption, which raises ethical challenges. Corruption and ethics are the two terms, which are contradictory to each other. Under ethics, neither bribe nor corruption is allowed (Akerstrom, 2014). Under ethics, no act is allowed which generates moral issues among people. This can be stated that bribe and corruption are links to ethics in a negative manner.

As the name implies, according to the concept of ethical relativism, nothing can be declared right or wrong universally. This concept says that whether an act is Right or wrong, the same depends on the circumstance and situation of a particular individual, historical period or culture. The doctrine of ethical relativism provides that in the area of ethics, there is no absolute truth as the morality and correctness of an act vary from individual to individual (Barker, 2009). In many of the cases, ethical relativism indicates some immoral practices as ethical as they are a requirement of the situation. The reason behind this is a concept, which never focuses on the acts, but on the situations and therefore many of the times, this aspect related to the nation’s culture.

Ethics and Culture in Bribery and Corruption

No doubt, bribe, and corruptions are the wrong things to do, however, in many of the cases, people adopt these practices by using ethical relativism. This can be stated that the theory of ethical relativism cannot apply in the cases of bribery and corruption. Regardless of the situation of the case and circumstances, these practices are immoral as the same creates an environment where some rich people get their work done over and above of genuine person (Pardo, 2017). Therefore if examine the bribery and corruption using ethical relativism, this can be stated that both of these practices are immoral despite the situations and circumstances of the fact until unless the same is not being done to do an ethical act further.

Further, Culture is a set of practice that people following for years. Corruption is a social concept and practice, which people use for their personal benefits. In many of the nations, this practice has taken a form of culture as people are using this practice for years. Mostly in the developing countries, people are giving and taking bribes in their daily life. It is now very common and people adopting and practicing this as the culture. Hence, this is to say that the practices such as bribe and corruption have become a part of some of the nation’s culture (Henning, 2016). This is also necessary to state in this area that a culture develops because of copying and repeating the same practices over many years, similarly bribe, and corruption becomes the culture in developing countries.

In terms of implication, this can be reviewed that more similar to any of the other cultural practice, people using the practices related to bribery and corruption, which have their negative impacts. People provide a bribe to the officers and other people promotes this practice by repeating the same. In addition to this, after observing one person, the other finds out another way to do the corruption. These are the major implications of these practices.

In the subject of ethics, many of the ethical theories are there such as consequentialism, virtue ethics, and deontology. All the mentioned theories have their different principles and approaches. In general, bribery and corruptions are unethical actions, yet under some of the theories, they can be justified as ethical and right. Consequentialism is an important ethical theory, which focuses on the result (Peterson, 2013). According to the theory, regardless of the actions involved in a practice, if the results are positive and moral then such practices will be held ethical. From the perspective of this theory, bribes and corruption can be declared ethical if the ultimate result of such practice brings some moral results. However, mostly bribes and corruption brings an immoral result as people use them as unfair means.

Implications of Bribery and Corruption

Further, the other theory named deontology is completely opposite to the firstly discussed theory. According to this theory, on the subject of ethics, one should not do focus on results but on the activities involved in a particular practice (Sanford, 2015). From the viewpoint of this theory, bribe and corruption will always be held an unethical practice. As results are irrelevant in the theory of deontology, therefore under this theory bribe and corruption will be held unethical. Under another concept of ethics is absolutism that also states that regardless the situation or individuals, Bribe and corruption will always be held unethical. Absolutism is an opposite theory of relativism.

In addition to the above two ethical theories, virtue ethics is also another approach in the area of ethics, which is an important approach to normative ethics. This approach says that a person turns into a moral one by adopting the good and ethical practices in life. If study and review this approach, this is to state that one can never be turned into a moral person by adopting the practices such as bribe and corruption.

Managers can adopt many ways to explain, refute, and defend these practices. The manner in which a person would react depends on the reason for that he/she adopted this practice. Based on different ethical theories, a manager can react in a different manner towards such practices. For instance, through the help of deontology, a manager can refute this practice whereas, on the other hand, one can defend this practice by focusing on moral consequences according to the theory of Consequentialism. In addition to this, a manager can also simply explain these practices on the basis of personal experiences by adopting virtual ethics theory.

Bribery of foreign officials is an issue itself. In many of the developing countries, this issue is increasing day by day. In conjunction with this, officials of developing countries are taking a bribe and promoting corruption in the overseas countries. To prevent such kind of issues, countries are developing anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies and legislation.

In Australia, bribery of foreign officers is a crime and the same carries a heavy amount of penalties. It leads to the unethical results such as breach of law and regulation which impacts good governance negatively. This is to inform that Australia is working well in order to stop such unethical practices and this nation is also an active member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). OECD is a group that is working in the area of foreign bribery prevention and monitors enforcement and implementation of the Anti-Bribery Convention. In this nation, bribery of foreign officers is a crime under the Criminal Code. Division 70 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) carries the all relevant provisions related to bribery of foreign public officers (Graycar & Smith, 2011). This is the reason in this country; bribery of foreign public officers is a criminal offense. According to the provisions of the act, a person who is held liable under section 70.2 of the act, can suffer with a penalty of imprisonment of 10 years or a fine worth Aus$1.8m or with both of them (Zhang & Lavena, 2015).

Ethical Theories on Bribery and Corruption

On the other side, In Canada, a separate legislation is there to address the issues related to bribery of foreign officers. The act named Canadian Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA) consists of every provision related to the subject and declares the bribery of foreign officers a criminal offense (Keith, 2013). Under Section 3 (2) of the act, this is stated that a person who contravenes the provision of subsection 1 of section 3 of the act, will be liable for the imprisonment of a term that cannot extend to 14 years.

In comparison to the provision of both of the countries i.e. Australia and Canada on this subject, this can be stated that Canada has more defined provisions somewhere. Further, this country has a well-defined Act on this matter whereas, in Australia, no such a parliamentary approved legislation is there which is fully dedicated to this concern. Therefore, this can be concluded that although Australia has made significant rules and regulations in order to prevent such unethical practices, yet this country needs to define the provisions thereon..

Bribe and Corruption are two business practices in the commercial area that defeats the value of morality. Cause of continuous practice, it has become a culture in most of the developing companies. People are following these practices and are getting involved in the unethical activities day by day. Ethics defines the moral values and demotivates the practices such as bribery and corruption. Regardless of the reasons behind an act of corruption, this is necessary to understand the harmful impacts of the same. A conduct of bribe and corruption can be beneficial for one but the same brings a lot of ethical issues for many of the others. No matter the results of a corrupt action are good or not, but these practices are always wrong. People involve in the acts or corruption and bribery, soon become habitual of these practices and also motivates others to adopt the sane.

From every perspective and point of view such as social, economic and moral, bribery and corruptions are the practices that need to stop as soon as possible (Biegelman,& Biegelman, 2010). In addition to this, culture has a very significant value but such kind of immoral practices diminish the culture. The culture of a nation, create and develop based on practices, which people follow over there. This is the reason that in developing countries, managers adopting these practices and the same are becoming part of the culture. Although managers argue that they will not pursue this practice in their home countries, this is to understand that once it would become part of the behavior then one will not be able to say no to such practices. Under some of the theories of ethics, this can be held justified in some circumstances, however, bribe and corruption both are unethical practices, and managers are not advised to adopt and to promote such acts.

In conclusion, this is to be stated that bribe and corruptions are unethical practices which are being a part of the culture in many developing countries this days and managers argue that they will not adhere these practices in their home countries but in actual, their home countries re also affecting with the same.


Akerstrom, M. (2014).Suspicious Gifts: Bribery, Morality, and Professional Ethics. New Jersey : Transaction Publishers.

Barker, D. (2009). Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists. California: Ulysses Press.

Betz, K. (2017). Proving Bribery, Fraud and Money Laundering in International Arbitration: On Applicable Criminal Law and Evidence. Cambridge :Cambridge University Press.

Biegelman, M., T. & Biegelman, D., R. (2010). Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Compliance Guidebook: Protecting Your Organization from Bribery and Corruption. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Canadian Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act

Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)

Davids, C., & Schubert, G. (2011). 17 The global architecture of foreign bribery control: applying the OECD Bribery Convention. Handbook of global research and practice in corruption, 319.

Deigh, J. (2010). An Introduction to Ethics. United States of America: Cambridge University Press.

Henning, P., J. (2016). Can businesses succeed in a world of corruption (without paying bribes)? Retrieved from:

Holmes, L., (2015). Corruption: A Very Short Introduction. United States : Oxford University Press.

Keith, N. (2013). Canadian Anti-corruption Law and Compliance. Ontario: LexisNexis Canada.

Pardo, I. (2017). Between Morality and the Law: Corruption, Anthropology and Comparative Society. Oxon: Routledge.

Peterson, M. (2013). The Dimensions of Consequentialism: Ethics, Equality and Risk. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 100.

Sanford, J., J. (2015). Before Virtue. Washington: Catholic University of America Press.

von der Pfordten, D. (2012). Five Elements of Normative Ethics-A General Theory of Normative Individualism. Ethical theory and moral practice, 15(4), 449-471.

Zhang, Y. & Lavena, C. (2015). Government Anti-Corruption Strategies: A Cross-Cultural Perspective. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

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