Training Top 125 Best Practice: Mastercard’s Anti-Corruption Investigation Docudrama

The company’s Global Talent and Development (GTD) and Anti-Corruption Investigation (ACI) teams released a film that recreates the story of Richard Bistrong—now chief executive of an anti-bribery consulting firm, who previously went to jail for violating U.S. anti-bribery and UK trade laws—and is interlaced with messages from Mastercard about its anti-bribery compliance best practices.

Compliance training typically focuses on disseminating rules on the do’s and don’ts, giving the impression that the Mastercard Compliance team is the policy police instead of the employee support system it wants to be known as. So Mastercard’s Global Talent and Development (GTD) and Anti-Corruption Investigation (ACI) teams decided to do an experiment: They released a 15-minute docudrama focusing on the real-life story of how one person paid the price for violating the rules.

Program Details

Unlike the usual “scenario” training, the film recreates the story of Richard Bistrong, who is now chief executive of an anti-bribery consulting firm; he previously went to jail for violating U.S. anti-bribery and UK trade laws. The film features Bistrong’s story, interlaced with messages from Mastercard about its anti-bribery compliance best practices.

Knowing it needed to move beyond the traditional classroom exercise to help Mastercard teams understand the potential impact of bribery and compliance events, GTD and Compliance contracted with a video production firm to videotape all of the segments needed to create the drama. The GTD team reworked the videos and created the entire look and feel of a suspenseful TV crime show (docudrama)—a comprehensive design that translated into all related Marketing Communication collateral. The video took extensive time and expertise by GTD to push the boundaries of what it had done previously, including graphic and instructional design software to pull off this simulated Web experience.

Taking it a step further, the ACI and GTD teams wanted to present this to their global workforce advertised the way someone would see a promo of a TV show, not via the typical e-mail deployment commanding you to take a compliance course. This resulted in creating compelling graphics and messaging by GTD on the global Electronic Bulletin Boards and Main Mastercard Central Communications Home Page.


Employees have realized a 25 percent increase in knowledge after the training is completed, and more than three-quarters of employees agree that their daily duties, responsibilities, and tasks are influenced by the concepts covered in this course.

The training video/course was so compelling that more than 60 global companies have contacted the Foreign Corrupt Practices App (FCPA) to leverage these videos for their own compliance training, and more companies have requests in to adopt this training video.

Internally, the Compliance department is tracking that the number of employee disclosures has increased by more than 50 percent following this training—proving that people remember stories!

“This has raised the bar internally, and we’ve held an employee casting call to feature our own employees in our upcoming code of conduct training,” notes shared Mastercard Executive Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer Karen Griffin.”Our plan is to create a series of topical vignettes released to employees over a period of time, where they can watch episodes individually as they’re released, or they can binge-watch all at once.”

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