Corruption and Bribery in Siemens Global Name Instructor Name Legal and ethical issues in Siemens Global Until 1999, corruption marred most of Siemens’ global operations thanks to the laxity in regulations in many countries where Siemens operate…
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Given the massive size and scale of the corruption, do you feel that the punishment was acceptable? Considering the magnitude of the corruption witnesses in virtually all Siemens subsidiaries across the globe, I strongly feel that the US and the German governments grossly under-fined the German company especially considering that at the time, Siemens used to accrue over over70 billion Euros of sales annually. A miniature fine of only $ 1.6 billion did only encourage the company to perpetuate the already worse unethical behavior by bribing the US investigators. Had the regulating authorities impose a much heavier fine on Siemens, the company management and to an extension its employees, would have taken a second thought as far as massive corruption and bribery are concerned. If you were the new Chief Ethics Officer, how would you have handled the situation? As the new Chief Ethics Officer, I would have taken a slightly different course in that instead of summarily dismissing culpable employees, I would have engaged them in the reform process. Since there is no absolute ethical standard or person, the first step would have been to embark on massive employee training process, sensitizing, and enlightening the employees on the benefits of conducting themselves in accordance to acceptable ethical standards. By indulging all the concerned parties in extensive consultations, communications, and negotiations, I think I would have brought back the company to its original course much faster. This is because empowering and encouraging employees has the overall effect of transforming the employees’ culture and subsequently, the organization’s culture, for the better (Fernando, 2010). Was the corruption justified since bribery was legal in Germany until 1999? Before the German government put a ban on bribery and corporate corruption, most companies perceived this as an easy way of going about their business operations. Singled out was the electronics giant, Siemens, which took absolute advantage of the situation in order to gain undue competitive advantage. Several reports quote Siemens top executives insinuating that corruption and bribery gave the company the competitive edge that saw it stay ahead of the game for years. As some may want to believe that Siemens was compliant by engaging in corruption, it beats logic to deny that this act is unethical. By all standards of fairness, any acts of corruption and bribery amount to the breach of acceptable ethical codes of conduct (Twomey et al., 2011). Ethics and moral justice should prevail in all corporate affairs and no company can justify corruption and bribery as a strategy for achieving company objectives. This is especially so if the acts of corruption and bribery infringe on the rights of other equally competitive companies like the right to fairly and transparently compete for tenders and contracts. Therefore, whatever reason Siemens referred to, there is not a single justification for their unethical behavior (Twomey et al., 2011). How does an organization make the shift to refine their ethical practices when there is such a radical change in policy? It is no doubt that ethical recovery is an agonizing experience for most companies especially if they were operating on a global platform. However, most organizations do manage to refine their ethical practices after a radical policy change. This, they achieve by following certain approaches that range from transforming the
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