U.S. businesses aren't alone in their struggle to curb corruption in the workplace. A new poll shows nearly two in three adults worldwide believe fraudulent activity is widespread in their country's businesses.
The study by Gallup revealed that while 60 percent of U.S. and Canadian residents consider corruption common in the workplace, the numbers are even higher in developing nations, such as sub-Saharan Africa, where 76 percent of residents feel nefarious activity is going on in their business community.
The research shows developing nations may suffer more because corruption can stymie financial development and foreign investments while also fostering income inequality.
In several regions, results vary widely across countries that are in different stages of development. In Asia, just 13 percent of residents in highly developed Singapore perceive corruption as widespread, while nearly nine in 10 in neighboring Indonesia believe it’s a problem.
In former Soviet Union countries, perceptions of business corruption range from a low of 28 percent in Georgia to a high of 87 percent in Moldova. Georgians' perceived business corruption has dropped significantly since 2006, when more than half the population viewed the problem as widespread. The research credits the decline to the country's efforts to eradicate corruption with a zero-tolerance anti-corruption campaign.
With the World Bank calling corruption "one of the single largest obstacles to economic and social development," the study advises governments to take a strong stand against such activity. The researchers believe strong leadership, policies, laws and greater transparency are necessary to fight corruption, which in turn may promote job creation and economic development.
The study was based on surveys of 1,000 people in each of the 140 countries studied.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.