Business Case Studies,Corporate Governance & Business Ethics Case Study, Flour Corp's Business Ethics Practices: Creating Six Sigma Standards in Staying Corruption-Free

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Flour Corp's Business Ethics Practices: Creating Six Sigma Standards in Staying Corruption-Free

"Fluor Corporation (Fluor Corp.) was listed in the world’s 'Most Ethical Companies' by Ethisp here magazine in 2008. It was the only company that made it to the list from the construction sector for two consecutive years. Alan Boeckmann  (Boeckmann), chairman and CEO of Fluor Corp. Corporation acknowledging the achievement said, "Ethics and ethical behavior are core values at Fluor Corp. and have been since our inception more than a century ago. We are proud of the examples our employees set around the globe and we are honored to be recognized on this prestigious list."1 Fluor Corp., with offices in 25 countries across the globe, provides services in the fields of engineering, construction, procurement and maintenance to its clients in the fields of oil and gas, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, alternative energy, nuclear infrastructure and government projects. Fluor Corp.'s ethical compliance initiatives, many argue, create a virtuous cycle in eroding corruption practices. However, the bigger debate is, would everyone buy Fluor Corp.'s philosophy? Why is it doing what it's doing?

Corruption, Business Corruption: The Insatiable Motivations

Corruption is defined as the misuse of entrusted power for private gain2 and as Boeckmann aptly said, "As you know, corruption has been with us for centuries. If not the oldest human vice, it is a close second. My belief, however, is that corruption need not be one of those things, like death and taxes, that is integral to our lives."3 People are found vulnerable to corruption mainly because of the greed for power and wealth. This vulnerability can damage the central pillars of a society - legislature, enforcement and judiciary.

As wealth and power are major factors, underdeveloped and developing countries face the threat as economic inequalities provide stimulus to fraudulent practices. Corruption in public sector and corporate sector are intimately bound together and the revelations about the collusion between the government and corporate world are often shocking. While a political system's corruption spoils the value of democracy, business corruption deteriorates the ethical and moral standards of the company. Though literature on corruption provides a lot of information on the causes and the consequences, the fight against corruption is still at infancy.

National Cultures, Corruption Practices and Corruption Indices

The prevalent levels of corruption vary across nations. Large differences in the level of corruption in various countries have been the area of interest for economists for long. Many also argued that income levels and economic developments are inversely proportional to corruption, which means countries with high incomes and good economy will breed lesser levels of corruption.

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1]"World's most Ethical Companies - Testimonials", http://ethisphere.com/worlds-most-ethical-companies-testimonials/
2]"frequently asked questions about corruption", http://www.transparency.org/news_room/faq/corruption_faq
3]"Visionary Leaders at work: Expanding the Fight Against Corruption", http://www.foreignaffairs.org/sponsored_sections/corporate_focus/fluor/fluor_booklet-fighting_corruption.pdf, October 2005/

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