The Importance of Business Ethics in Ireland

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The Importance of Business Ethics in Ireland

Sonia Lorena Richards

Cross cultural Human Relations and Negotiations

April 27, 2010

Globalization has created opportunities for countries like Ireland to flourish. “Ireland is now classed as a high income economy by the World Bank on the basis of gross national income (Chhokar 365).” The importance of business ethics is fairly new in Ireland. Explanations for this might be sought in the country’s colonial history and late economic development, its size, the homogeneity of Irish society, and religion (Keating 9). These things need to be considered while doing business in Ireland. There are many opportunities for other countries to do business with Ireland because it is dependent on trade (Chhokar 365). The United States and Ireland’s business ethics are very similar, but do have some differences. The culture of each country determines how business ethics are understood. Due to past corporate and political scandals in the 1990s, Irish corporations emphasize the importance of ethical standards in the place of business (Keating 9). Irish ethical standards start with leadership and its components, as well as the attitudes towards ethics in business.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that people realized the importance of business ethics because it caused them a great of social and economic costs.

“The spate of unethical practices which unfolded in Irish businesses in the summer of 1991 aroused widespread public criticism and anger with senior government and business people. I firmly believe that the revelations and investigations into these events will have restraining effects (Regional Manager, Utility) (Alderson 434).”

While the rest of the world for some years has been addressing issues such as business ethics, Ireland for the most part was focused on its own economic and political problems (Wiley 135). Since the events occurred in the 1990s, Irish attitudes towards business ethics had to change to decrease the social and economic costs. It got to a point that it was affecting the whole country. There have been studies conducted on the new Irish attitudes toward ethics in business which needs to be known by managers of other countries who want to do business with Irish companies.

According to Siobhan Alderson there are four keys that changed: attitudes towards implementing ethics in business, influences of top management, attitudes towards ethical issues in business, and the perceptions of responsibility towards key stakeholders in business. Some of the implementations that Alderson discovered were that Irish managers believe that business schools need to include more ethics training to make sure what occurred in the 1990s does not occur again (APPENDIX A). A management consultant was interviewed by Alderson on the matter and believes strongly on education in the schools systems. “Although business ethics is given its best start in the home, some enhancement could be effected through training at school, college, and business school. (Management Consultant) (Alderson 435).” Most managers believe this as well. I interviewed Ann Hinds who works at the law firm Matheson Ormsby Prentice in Dublin, Ireland. Since the 1990s, business ethics have been incorporated in the school systems. She explained to me at her firm it is an absolute essential to have learned or taken a business ethics course before working in the firm. She not only explained about the importance of her firm, but for all businesses in Ireland. “Corporations are more focused on business ethics due to the financial crisis we are going through right now (Ann Hinds).” With this said, It will be important for foreign managers who want to work in Ireland to be educated in their code of ethics before arriving to work because of how they believe their top management’s behaviors influence their peers. It will give them a better advantage over the competition. The Irish believe that the...