Know the Difference Between a Bribe and a Gift

4 min

The main difference between a bribe and a gift is intent.

A bribe is given with either an explicit or implied expectation of return that will benefit your business. 

Bribes also tend to be higher in monetary or perceived value.

A gift is given without any expectation of return and does not benefit your business.

Gifts can be of any value but the more expensive the gift, the more likely it will be seen as a bribe.

Most companies have guidelines around giving or receiving gifts, which usually include a dollar limit on gift value.

In fact, many companies prohibit their employees from giving or receiving gifts entirely to avoid any potential appearance of taking bribes.

Let's practice!

A prospective client flies you overseas to tour their factory. They pay for your flight, hotel, and all your meals. At the factory, they tell you to take your pick of the merchandise for yourself.

Quiz 1 of 1

Which of these can be considered a bribe?

The hotel accommodations
The flight
The meals
The merchandise from the factory

The correct answer is D.

Offering you something that benefits you personally and could influence you to benefit their business interest is a bribe.

Providing for your travel is a legitimate business expense, although you should always check before accepting anything.


Before accepting or giving a gift to a client, make sure you know your company's gift policy.

Lesson complete

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