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  • Richard Bistrong

Front-Line Interview Episode 1: Alison Taylor, How Organizations Impact Corruption

In the launch of a new video series, Front-Line Interviews, I engage with Alison Taylor, Director of Energy and Extractives at BSR (Business for Social Responsibility). I first became aware of Alison’s work via a Forbes article she authored “Compliance and Risk: Clearing the Org Chart Hurdle” (link here). After an introduction, Alison and I co-authored an article on Ethical Boardroom, “Reconciling Sales Strategy with FCPA Compliance.” (link here). In this interview, Alison shares the findings of her research with respect to her Masters Thesis from Columbia University on “The Organizational Culture Dimension of Corruption.” In her work, Alison identifies the impact of growth forecasts, selective leadership focus, the existence of corrupt sub-cultures within an organization, the role of incentives, and the sense of urgency within business units, as all representing areas which can leave an anti-bribery compliance program as vulnerable to ‘real-world’ behaviors.

Alison’s work brings the ‘WAH’ (What Actually Happens) in an organization to the compliance community as to better understand the real-world corruption risks which can exist and remain unaddressed in a corporation. It is a call to look at compliance at the level of business strategy first, and then to see how those strategies cascade in an organization through incentives, forecasts, and quotas. What follows is a ‘clear eyed’ reality check to see if those strategies are a partner to anti-bribery compliance or a ‘bolt-on’ set of rules and procedures that might be viewed as a ‘work around’ at the front-lines. It is a real honor to bring Alison’s work to life through this interview, and while it is 30 minutes, it brings incredible value and insight to elevate compliance beyond policies, rules and procedures.

I am really excited about bringing this video series to the compliance community. While blogging is certainly an impactful way to communicate,  the opportunity to share perspectives with thought leaders via a professional studio in NYC is really an incredible chance to bring different viewpoints to the field.  I hope that the content of this first interview overcomes my sense of nervousness at this new role. I was going to lose the i-pad but someone likened it to the clipboard that Willam Buckley used on Firing-Line; however, in this interview with Alison, there was so much great content in her Thesis that I didn’t want to chance anything to memory!

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