June 4, 14
Ms. Ashanti South
In this paper the writer will discuss cross-cultural perspectives and how this affects a global organization. The chosen global organization will be Nike Inc. Nike is a global retailer of clothing, footwear, sportswear and accessories. The company was founded by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight in 1964 and has a current stock price of $76.18 as of June 4, 2014. Nike’s headquarters is located in Beaverton, OR but manufacturing of its products takes place all over the world. In the retail apparel market Nike is considered to be a retail giant.
As with any business that conducts business globally, Nike must deal with the issue of ethics and ethical perspectives across a global organization. Ethics play an important role in the business world and to each of us individually. Ethics basically refers to a person’s morals and sense of right and wrong. Each of us has our own ethical perspectives and our upbringing and what we were taught and accepted to be right or wrong influence this. In a business environment, however, a company must take into consideration what would be considered an ethical course of action based on the culture of the people where they are conducting business and the ethical perspective of the company as a whole.
Nike Inc. has a code of ethics for all employees called inside the lines. It defines the standards of conduct Nike expects their employees to follow and includes a range of topics on employee activity, ethical behavior, safety, legal compliance and use of resources ("Nikebiz.com", 2014). Every year all employees of Nike are required to acknowledge they have read and understand this code of ethics. In addition, Nike also has a code of conduct that must be adhered to by all contractors who manufacture products for Nike. Nike’s code of ethics covers topics such as respect for fellow employees, environmental hazards and safety, social responsibility, protection of intellectual property, fraud, theft, conflicts of interest, compliance with laws and antitrust to name a few. The code of ethics opens with this statement "Nikebiz.com" (2014),“NIKE’s good name and reputation result in large part from our collective actions. That means the work-related activities of every employee must reflect standards of honesty, loyalty, trustworthiness, fairness, concern for others and accountability. We are expected to be sensitive to any situations that can adversely impact NIKE’s reputation and are expected to use good judgment and common sense in the way we all conduct business. This Code of Ethics applies to NIKE and its subsidiaries worldwide.”
However, being a global organization means that Nike may not be able to enforce this code of ethics in the same manner in all countries. Hence why Nike has developed a code of conduct for their contractors to adhere to. Even still, this code must be enforced with regard for what is considered legal or illegal in each country. For example, in Nike’s code of ethics the section titled Matter of Respect states that employees should refrain from acting in a manner that would be considered unlawful harassment or discrimination. It also states that employees must treat others as they would like to be treated and respect the diverse workforce that Nike enjoys. Nike’s code of ethics refers their contractors to the code of conduct, which addresses issues with different wording and in a different manner. One of the reasons there is a separate code of conduct is because ethical perspectives can vary from one culture to another.
To illustrate, it may be considered ok for a person to eat with their left hand in American culture but it may be viewed as disrespectful for a person to either eat or serve someone food with their left hand in another culture. Likewise, what is considered ethical by American standards may be considered unethical in another culture and vice versa. In America it may not...
References: Boylan, M. (2009). Basic ethics: Basic ethics in action (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Nikebiz.com. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.nikebiz.com/crreport/content/about/1-4-3-ethics-and-conduct.php?cat=governance-accountability
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