Over a third of executives 'would act unethically'
More than a third of senior executives in Irish companies questioned for survey would be prepared to take potentially unethical actions to help their business survive an economic downturn.
However, less than one in 10 Irish business leaders believe that bribery and corrupt practices happen widely in business in Ireland, and none believe it is a common practice in their sector, according to the survey from EY.
The report, which was carried out among over 2,800 C-suite executives in 62 countries including Ireland, found that the number of Irish business leaders who believe bribery and corrupt practices are widespread has halved from 16pc in 2014 to 8pc in 2016.
This compares to 28pc of senior decision makers in British businesses who believed that bribery and corruption was very prevalent in the UK.
However, despite their belief that bribery does not exist in their sector, Irish executives said they would be prepared to engage in potentially unethical behaviour to win or retain business, including using client entertainment, making cash payments, giving personal gifts, and mis-stating a company's financial performance.
Julie Fenton, partner and head of EY's Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services said the research shows a clear disconnect between the perception and reality of bribery and corruption in Irish business today.
"While it is encouraging to see that fewer Irish business leaders believe these practices are widespread, this is not reflected in our findings which show that when the pressure is on to pull through an economic downturn or meet financial targets, a high proportion of Irish executives would be prepared to let their ethics slide."