Wrapping Up a Deal
Sending presents on special occasions and as a sign of respect or appreciation is normal in almost every culture. Bribery on the other hand is usually done in lieu of getting what the giver wants. Many countries swear off bribery and yet, according to Transparency International, Chief Executive David Nusbaum, “companies continue to bribe across the globe, while their governments pay lip-service to enforcing the law” (BBC News, 2006, para. 4). Many countries have their own traditions on giving gifts and a multi-national corporation that knows how to take advantage of this custom has an edge over those that strictly condone it.
One of the major business countries with a socially-accepted tradition on gift-giving is China. In this country, presents convey good will and are believed to be a great kind of “social contracting” (Steidlmeier, 1999, para. 17). Gifts do strengthen business relationships if they are put in the proper context and given at an appropriate time. The Chinese would appreciate gifts after a deal has been concluded as a sign of good will. One must also take note that the Chinese are known for their tradition of reciprocity wherein an offer of kindness (such as a gift) demands that the receiver return the favor “on a suitable occasion” (Minnesota-China Connection, 2005, para. 1). Giving the gift during negotiations would be considered a bribe especially if it is lavish.
Bribery, despite its popularity in developing countries, should still be considered as unethical and must not be practiced. Although there are many laws against this, bribery seems to be promoted in these nations because Western corporations get “impatient with local bureaucratic rules” (Wafa, n.d., para. 4).
Showing appreciation, respect and gratitude are acceptable reasons for giving and accepting gifts but presenting something to gain an unfair advantage in any negotiation is illegal and must be avoided at all cost.
BBC News. (2006, October 04). China and India ‘top bribe list’ . . Retrieved July 20, 2007,
Minnesota-China Connection. (2005). Chinese Gift-Giving Etiquette. Retrieved July 20, 2007,
Steidlmeier, P. (1999, June). Gift giving, bribery and corruption: Ethical management of
business relationships in China. Retrieved July 20, 2007, from http://www.fsa.ulaval.
Wafa, S.A. (n.d.). Gift- Giving and Bribery Among Americans, Indonesians, Malaysians and
Thais A Comparative Study. Retrieved July 20, 2007, from http://mgv.mim.edu.my/