Does corruption exist in the private sphere?

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Written by:

Astrid Dominguez

Today more than ever, the concern for living surrounded by acts that we call “acts of corruption” resounds in the different areas of our lives, our social networks and our surroundings. Many times we focus this concern on the public sphere, acting as authorities that have more media presence and that we believe are more influential in different areas of society. However, it is worth asking ourselves if this concern should also be transferred to the private sphere, to our daily activities, to our own attitudes, within our own companies.

The term corruption , in accordance with the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, is defined as follows: ” In organizations, especially public ones, a practice consisting in the use of the functions and means of those for the benefit, economic or otherwise. nature, of its managers ”. In other words, corruption means using the means or functions available to obtain their own profit that is not appropriate. In short, this definition has been expanded in recent years in the legal field, as well as the different unfair or unethical practices in which corruption can manifest itself. To demonstrate the breadth of the term and for the purposes of this article, some of the practices that could be part of acts of corruption are described:

  • Alteration of records, unauthorized use of information
  • performing arbitrary or illegal acts
  • breach of duties
  • commit falsehoods
  • disobey legal resolutions
  • reveal secrets and usurp powers
  • accept or offer objects of value or benefits to perform, order, delay or omit acts of their charge
  • steal property that is in custody or use the property for a purpose other than that for which it was intended
  • Obtaining capital benefits, level of expenses or cancellation of debts or obligations that do not correspond to what they have been able to obtain derived from their usual actions
  • provide the name or company name
  • influencing a public official or employee to obtain an improper benefit
  • defraud someone else’s assets
  • manage commissions to be awarded a contract of any kind or benefit
  • hinder the fulfillment of the functions of officials

The term corruption is therefore very broad and the activities that can configure it are diverse. The question is then, can this type of corrupt acts be carried out in the private sector? The answer is: definitely yes, since within any entity that handles information, owns assets, handles trade secrets, has relationships with the State or with third parties, there will be risks or vulnerabilities that could attract workers or people related to the entity to get away from the established ethical guidelines and try to get their own profit. That is, take advantage of the structure of the entity to benefit excessively, outside of what corresponds. In addition, it would be an interesting exercise to establish what kind of consequences these acts could bring to the entity itself,

Therefore, it is necessary that key actions be implemented within our entities to prevent these risks from occurring. These actions are: regulate – train – monitor – report – sanction. This cycle, usually referred to collectively as the “Compliance Program” helps to keep the ethical values ​​within the entities alive and allows the entity to stay away from committing corrupt practices, which also infest the private sphere. The cycle refers specifically to the fact that we must know our businesses, regulate those activities that we consider to be the most risky of corruption, inform our collaborators what is expected of them and give them the power to monitor each other. Then, we must become part of a culture where we know that we are all doing things well and that, in case it is known that someone departs from our ideals, we have the power and ease of informing those who can make key decisions and can sanction adequately.

It is then up to each of us to ensure ethics in our entities and obliges us to exercise the civic duty to do things well, to be vigilant and to be positive and proactive agents of change, who build a better State and allow each one of our collaborators feels and is convinced that our entity values ​​and rewards ethical conduct.

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