What do you do as the project manager

According to the World Bank, bribery is a $1 Trillion per year issue (Bowie and Schneider 305). All countries have laws against paying bribes, but it still happens. You are the manager of a multi-year, multi-billion dollar project overseas. Local officials from on site inspectors to national cabinet ministers all have their hands out. Other companies are making payments, because “everyone else is doing it” and “that’s how things get done here.” Your project will definitely get delayed, and may get cancelled, if you do not make the payments. But, US law is clear, paying bribes is illegal and will be punished if discovered. What do you do as the project manager? What is the ethical basis of your decision? Does your answer change if the company owners and executives are willing to turn a blind eye? Are there universal ethical values in play here? Or, is this a case of cultural relativism?

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