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Why an International Code of Ethics would be good for Business-1

Why an International Code of Ethics would be good for Business-1

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XanEdu Research Engine Page 1 of 13 Your Article Zin tDpks Shoftuts Conftct Why an international code of business ethics would be good for business My XanEdu Journal of Business Ethics; Dordrecht; Jan 1998; Larry R SmeltzerMarianne M Jennings Source (subtitle): JBE Volume: 17 Issue: I Start Page: 5766 ISSN: 01674544 Subject Terms: International Business ethics Codes Culture Social life & customs Studies Culture Business ethics Classification Codes: 9180: International 2410: Social responsibility 9130: Experimentalltheoretical treatment 1200: Social policy Abstract: Many international business training programs present a viewpoint of cultural relativism that encourages business people to adapt to the host country's culture. This paper presents an argument that cultural relativism is not always appropriate for business ethics; rather, a code of conduct must be adapted which presents guidelines for core ethical business conduct across cultures. Both moral and economic evidence is provided to support the argument for a universal code of ethics. Also, four steps are presented that will help ensure that company ethical standards are followed internationally. Full Text: Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers Group Jan 1998 [Headnotel ABSTRACT. Many international business training programs present a viewpoint of cultural relativism that encourages business people to adapt to the host country's culture. This paper presents an argument that cultural relativism is not always appropriate for business ethics; rather, a code of conduct must be adapted which presents guidelines for core ethical business conduct across cultures. Both moral and economic evidence is provided to support the argument for a universal code of ethics. Also, four steps are presented that will help ensure that company ethical standards are followed internationally. Introduction In many executive training seminars for international business, executives are taught to honor customs in other countries and "Do as the Romans Do." The emphasis on international business training is on learning how other cultures do business and adapting to their way of business (Wines and Napier, 1992; Paige and Martin, 1983). To some companies, adapting to foreign cultures often requires ethical compromises. That is, companies may conduct international business operations in a manner that is http://proquest.umi.com/pqdlink?VerI&Exp=07032002&VAULT=I&FMT=FT&DID=O... 7/2/2002
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XanEdu Research Engine Page 2 of 13 contrary to its standards of conduct in U.S. operation. In fact, some of the conduct in international operations may run contrary to the basic tenets of capitalism. The issue that arises is whether it is possible to successfully conduct business in those countries where cultural issues require ethical compromises that could significantly affect business operations.
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