December 21, 2012
Cross Cultural Perspectives
Ethics are the product of a society’s culture so it is natural there will be different responses to similar ethical scenarios. Beekum, Stedam, and Yamamura (2003) suggest these differing conclusions will lead to conflict where one side perceives the outcome is ethical whereas the other does not. Another possible outcome is that one side may not even see a decision even being morally significant. Global organizations have the additional challenge when operating within a multi-national environment of recognizing cultural differences while maintaining a core moral and ethical foundation. Cisco Systems is a global technology company operating in more than 165 countries around the globe with over 66,000 employees. The nature of technology coupled with global reach provides an interesting example of cross-cultural ethics within a global organization. Cisco Systems has devoted a department to Corporate Social Responsibility comprised of staff from the various countries it operates to address the challenge maintaining a global workforce. Cisco has been able to train and uphold the organization to a common framework for ethical business practices by recognizing the diversity and cultural norms within the nations it does business.
In 2008, Cisco Systems sought to change its corporate code of conduct from a legalized and formal format to a framework that reflected the dynamics of its intelligent work force (Singer, 2008) after realizing the changing landscape of a globalized workforce. Cisco began its own ethics blog and intranet web page as a beginning to this new department understanding that its employee base is technologically savvy and highly “wired” to the internet. Where some companies may have settled for mediocre, Cisco created real case studies in local languages, interactive media and meaningful information. The ethics department was developed...