Custom «Sales and Ethics» Sample Essay
A global sales marketplace is prone to different ethical dilemmas, such as bribery and overpricing of products and services. Bribery is widely-practiced in many nations, including the countries of Africa and Asia. Consequently, sales persons may participate in bribery to win sales as their salaries are equivalent to the sales made. However, the United States laws prohibit its firms from engaging in bribery as a way of initiating business. This paper discusses a case study in which Mike, a sales person, faces an ethical dilemma on whether to pay a bribe to win a contract considering the strict rules against bribes as stated by the United States Corruption Practices Act.
The contextual sales ethics issue prevalent in this case study is bribery. Bribery is the act of giving gifts of monetary value to potential customers so that to persuade their decision (Cron, Decarlo, & Dalrymple, 2009). One is tempted to engage in bribery when pressure for motivation in the form of salaries and commissions compromises one’s ability to act ethically (Tanner, Tanner, & Wakefield, 2015, p. 176). For Mike to win the contract, he must be ready to pay specific sums of money to persuade the African minister to grant him the tender. Bribery as an act can make a person build strong relationships with foreign officials and attract many clients. However, the money expended as a bribe is often state money. As a result, such actions often lead to national debts and lack of investments, which makes the nations weak as it appears in the case of most African countries. Regardless of the possible advantages of being involved in corruption, it is morally wrong as it stagnates the economy of a country and ruins the nation’s reputation in addition to jeopardizing customers’ relationships (Tanner, Tanner, & Wakefield, 2015, p. 175). Moreover, only those individuals or companies that can afford making gifts offer them in exchange for favors resulting in social division of the nation. In its turn, it leads to severe poverty cases among those individuals who cannot afford giving bribes.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) makes it unlawful for the U.S. citizens and businesses to offer money gifts to foreign officials to obtain or retain business. Therefore, as the U.S.-based companies engage in business in foreign markets, they need to know that some of the practices accepted there could lead to violation of this Act (Mest & Hunter, 2015). The FCPA applies not only to individuals acting for a business organization but also to foreign persons under the U.S. jurisdiction. Therefore, local companies having branches outside the native country are liable for violations of the respective laws. Consequently, even if giving and taking bribes may be acceptable in Africa, it is illegal in the U.S. As a result, in the given case, the minister is a foreign official, which means that paying him the sum of money to win the tender will be a criminal action as outlined by the FCPA. As a consequence, Mike and any other corrupt official will attract massive fines of up to $250,000 and a five-year incarceration (Mest & Hunter, 2015, p.177). Moreover, the construction company can attract fines of up to $2 million.
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For Mike to win the contract he has to consider the following options without giving the bribe. At first, he has to explicitly expound to the individuals demanding the bride that this option is not acceptable. In addition, Mike should explain the possible benefits of transacting with his company compared to other participants without engaging in illegal activities. He should adopt a polite and straightforward manner avoiding name-calling and blaming the people asking for the bribe. Moreover, informing the minister expecting a bribe that it will be wrong in the long-term for both Mike's company and the country might also assist. Further, while Mike is enumerating the benefits of his services to the minister, he should also mention that under the U.S. law, any contract obtained in the process of corrupt practices in considered invalid. However, it is important to remember that Mike’s arguments, accompanied by the other relevant information, might not lead to the awarding of the contract, if the minister is seriously compromised by bribery.
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Being aware of the consequences of corruption, I would not risk to give the bribe for the minister. It is true that offering money to obtain benefits is widely practiced in Africa. Making the minister aware of the FCPA Act and the attitude of my firm towards the bribery will either make him change his attitude or hire some other company. Moreover, aggressive negotiations with the minister may persuade him to sign the contract with me by following the instructions required to win the contract. I understand that giving the bribe will consequently lead to the loss of my job and, therefore, damage my company's reputation.
A sales person is expected to do all possible to win a sale or a contract to earn the trust of the employer alongside with receiving sales commission and high salary. The FCPA strictly forbids businessmen in the U.S. to offer or receive bribes from both local and foreign business partners. Sales person who is expected to make a sale often faces a dilemma of whether to offer or accept a bribe when dealing with a foreigner. Mike is confronting the same problem with the African minister. However, high standards of individual morals should be put higher than commissions and bonuses. Thus, sales persons are expected to act ethically in all their sales transactions and avoiding bribes is one the ways of acting in an ethical manner.
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