Ethics Talk with Natali Engstam Phalén: There is always an excuse – how bribery offenders rationalize

In our most recent Ethics Talk we discuss with Natali Engstam Phalén. Natali is the Secretary General at the Swedish Anti-Corruption Institute. Natali is a well know advocate for transparent business practices in Sweden. She has received several acknowledgements such as being awarded to one of the most powerful influencers of the society in 2019 and to one of Swedens most prominent female leaders in 2020.

In this EthicsTalk podcast we will talk about how we rationalize corrupt and illegal behavior. Those of you who are familiar with the fraud triangle know that rationalizing the behavior is one of the three enablers of fraudulent and unethical conduct, combined with pressure and opportunity.

A few months ago Swedish Anti-Corruption Institute released a report called “Tio förklaringsmodeller bakom mutbrott” – freely interpreted to “Ten rationalization or explanation models for bribery offences”. The report provides insights into how convicted persons explain and reason around their bribery offences.  On the cover page of the report there are statements such as “it was just a joke” and “the loan was just a favor to a friend” …

It seems like the convicted criminals more have excuses than explanations for their deeds. We discuss with Natali about this super interesting research and its findings.