Globalization of Business Ethics

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“The more one knows ethics, the more it is used and the more useful it becomes”-Plato, The quote by Plato is a reminder on just how important ethics is and how important it is to educate yourself on proper ethical practices. In the following paper I would like to look at the topic of global business ethics. Recent studies in business ethics have shown both remarkable similarities and differences across cultures with respect to attitudes toward questionable business practices. First I would like to talk about the affect that culture has on ethical behavior. Next, I would like to talk about ethical complexities and challenges facing businesses that operate internationally, mainly focusing in on multinational corporations and the ethical problems they face. As recently as a decade ago, many companies viewed business ethics only in terms of administrative compliance with legal standards and adherence to internal rules and regulations. Today the situation is different. Attention to business ethics is on the rise across the world and many companies realize that in order to succeed, they must earn the respect and confidence of their customers. Like never before, corporations are being asked, encouraged and prodded to improve their business practices to emphasize legal and ethical behavior. Companies, professional firms and individuals alike are being held increasingly accountable for their actions, as demand grows for higher standards of corporate social responsibility ( First, the affect that culture has on ethical behavior. Corporations and individuals, especially corporations doing business globally, must understand and evaluate the cultures of the people with which it wishes to do business in order to ensure smooth transactions and negotiations. Corporations are influenced by the cultural values of its employees in the same way countries develop an identity based on the culture of its citizens. In today's global marketplace, we must all be willing to understand the cultural differences in others in order to cooperatively do business across borders. Employing the values of the culture is often difficult when dealing with other cultures. It is possible that the values of one culture do not align with the cultures of another. One culture might view innovation as bad rather than progress, while another might view slow decision-making as laziness rather than caution. Corporations must be willing to work together to compromise, not abandon some values in order to create initiatives, which are mutually beneficial (Storm, 2007). Primary cultural values are transmitted to a culture's members by parenting and socialization, education, and religion. There are also secondary factors that affect ethical behavior. They include differences in the systems of laws across nations, accepted human resource management systems, organizational culture, and professional cultures and codes of conduct. There is common agreement that a country's culture is directly related to the ethical behavior of its managers. The behavior is exhibited in two main ways: first, by overt actions such as public or corporate statements and actions about ethical behavior; second, by the collection of the group of ethical attitudes and values. One problem in dealing with culture is that it is difficult to define universally. It represents the values and patterns of thinking, feeling and acting in an identifiable group. While many nations possess the infrastructure of modern, developed civilization, culture represents how people in the civilization interact with one another. A view that may help understand culture is to look at its levels (Schein,1985). Schein proposed that culture have three levels. The most obvious concerns the works of culture, its artifacts. These are apparent and portray some of the values of the culture. Public works, works of art, museums, hospitals and universities can reveal the value that the culture places...
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