Combating corruption is not easy. It requires strong leadership
On a recent trip to India, I met with a number of business executives who were concerned about corruption and its toll on the business community and the country. I heard two very different narratives from these executives, who represented both local Indian firms and multinationals (MNCs). The first is that because corruption is so deeply embedded in the Indian culture, it is impossible for businesses to operate without “playing the game". As one MNC executive put it, “when in Rome (or Mumbai), you have little choice but to do as the Romans (Indians) do." However, I heard a very different story from other executives, who argued that if you have the determination to consistently say no to requests for bribes and you have a valued product or service, you can conduct clean business.