Find your strength in transparency

Dr. Mertens discussed with PhD students from the ERL doctoral program about the fight against corruption and the work of Transparency International.

Dr. Anna-Maija Mertens, Managing Director of Transparency International Deutschland e.V. (TI Germany), was invited as an external speaker to a jour fixe of the doctoral program "Ethics and Responsible Leadership in Business” at February 12, 2020. In her lecture “Corruption: A main obstacle for economic and social development,” she presented the work of Transparency International (TI) and its fight against corruption. She defined corruption as the abuse of transferred power for the private benefit. Corruption in its various forms minimizes efficiency, increases inequality and consumes more than five percent of global GDP. In order to fight corruption efficiently, TI relies on cooperation with representatives of civil society, politics and business in national departments all over the world. In the second part of her presentation, Mertens dealt with the topic of integrity in decisions. In the political field, awareness of one's own role and objectives is needed. On the one hand, it is important to keep in mind that political actors should act in the interests of society as a whole. On the other hand, they need knowledge and good orientation to be able to make complex decisions. At this point, Mertens advocated a lobbyism register, in which it should be noted who lobbies for what and funded by whom. Ideally, legislation should disclose which lobbies advised the legislators. This transparency counteracts corruption. Mertens also transferred this idea to the individual decision-making process of managers. They should also be aware of their role and their goals. However, this would not be possible alone, but only in exchange with others. Here too, Mertens advised transparency: admitting uncertainties, explaining decisions and always communicating in such a way that the message or statement can become public.

Among other things, Mertens discussed with the doctoral students the non-economic effects of corruption, where the boundary between friendly care and corruption runs, when unequal treatment can be attributed to corruption, and how TI Germany is committed to whistleblowing. She repeatedly stressed the importance of transparency in the fight against corruption. The state, companies, civil society organizations and also individuals should find their strength in transparency. The WZGE has been cooperating with TI Germany for a long time. Mertens has already supported the management colloquium and the International Business Colloquium at the WZGE.