Reconciling Ethics in the Global Market

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Reconciling Ethics in the Global Market
Values, morals, and ethics are three interrelated concepts that influence the decisions in our personal lives. Values are usually acquired throughout childhood, based on experiences and influenced by many sources including parents, teachers, media, religious affiliations and many other factors. Morals are developed throughout a person’s life, as he or she acquires personal beliefs of right and wrong, (Walker, 2001). Ethics are standards of conduct that indicate how individuals ought to behave when faced with difficult situations. These standards are based primarily on values and principles about what is right or wrong. Secondary factors can also affect ethical behavior, and these include differences in the systems of laws in different countries, organizational culture, and professional cultures and codes of ethic (Pitta). Business ethics has become a very popular topic of discussion in recent years from the media to the academic arena. This attention is mostly the result of the recent financial scandals but is also due to the globalization of the business community. Ethical behavior is an important component of managerial decision making. The need for global and multicultural nature of business operations has brought a new challenge to companies and managers, who must make ethical decisions that may conflict with the cultural values and beliefs of the country where they operate. According to Axinn (2004), culture has a significant influence on one’s ethical values, therefore, one might expect that culture influences ethical decision making. Multinational corporations need to adapt to different cultures in order to avoid costly mistakes and misunderstandings. The potential for these misconceptions increases when managers interact with foreign partners or clients who may have different values and beliefs. Having a good understanding of these differences allows companies to better adapt to these different cultures and can...
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