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In the past two years we have witnessed significant and sometimes unforeseen political changes which have led to increased economic uncertainty and volatility across the region. Elections have seen a growth in support for populist parties with nationalistic agendas, while the consequences of the UK’s vote to leave the EU and the results of the US Presidential election will impact the region for years to come. This new environment presents significant challenges for businesses as they seek to find alternative ways to meet ambitious revenue goals.

At the same time, business conduct is under greater scrutiny than ever before. Significant public demand for businesses to be held to account through greater transparency and accountability is being led by the G20, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank reinforced by strong national regulators increasingly cooperating with one another.

Between November 2016 and January 2017, we interviewed 4,100 individuals from 41 countries and territories to gather their insights on the challenges facing businesses today.

Geopolitical, economic and social changes mean that traditional compliance frameworks may be based on assumptions that are no longer valid.

Our survey found that while the majority of our respondents are in favor of increased regulation, a significant proportion of those surveyed continue to justify unethical behavior to help a business survive or to improve their own remuneration. Of all our respondents, the youngest category surveyed, Generation Y (25 to 34 year olds) are the most willing to justify such behaviors.

Geopolitical, economic and social changes mean that traditional compliance frameworks may be based on assumptions that are no longer valid.

While in the past individuals may have been motivated by a desire to protect the company, they are now more likely to be loyal to their own business unit or motivated by personal gain. Even when respondents felt concerned about the behavior of their colleagues, they either did not know how to, or felt hesitant to, report information about potential inappropriate conduct. In an increasingly digital and automated business environment where your employees can either justify unethical behavior or are hesitant to come forward, companies should leverage new technologies and machine logic to identify and detect misconduct. This would provide companies with access to new information, new insights and new ways of working, allowing them to address the risks and embrace the opportunities in this uncertain world. 

We hope that this report helps to drive better conversations around these issues and we thank all those who participated in our survey for their contributions and insights.

Jim McCurry
EMEIA Leader
Forensic & Integrity Services

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