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Business ethics are mostly defined through cultural perspective of the consumers. When evaluating business ethics of your country, it is very easy to give an opinion based on personal experiences. It would be impossible to evaluate business ethics of countries outside of your country through personal experiences if you have never had one. Recently I was asked to compare the ethical perspective of two countries to the business ethics if the United States by method of research articles. The countries of my choice are South Africa and China. In this paper I will provide a summary of both articles, explain the ethical perspectives of China and South Africa and compare the ethical perspectives of China and South Africa to the business perspectives of the United States. In Business Ethics in China; A Human Resource Management Issue? written by John Hulpke and Cubie Lau, acknowledges that business ethics exist in Chinas as well as other countries. China’s issues of Business Ethics have to be resolved at societal, individual and organizational levels.

Law plays an important role at the societal level but is not enough to enforce business ethics in China because individuals make ethical decisions in the individual level, but society sets the tone. Family influences values in ethical decision-making of an individual and peers may also share an equal influence. In the organization level, human resource [human resources] management plays an important role in building an ethical organization. In the subject of pay and benefits, women are not equally paid as men are in China. Human resource [human resources] managers can fix business ethics because they create policies within the organization. Media has aided tremendously in encouraging ethical practices by naming those who violate business ethics. Ethical cultures are initiated and built by ethical leaders in the organizational level. Ethical practices go throughout the organization and starts at the top. It then becomes a part of the DNA of the organizational culture. Business Ethics in South Africa written by G. J. Rossouw acknowledges that corruption has infected the society of South Africa. This article assesses the state of business ethics within the community of South Africa. South Africa is steering away from the apartheid legacy and is currently turning into a democracy. During the apartheid era, South African businesses were barred from entrance to world markets.

During the first year of democracy white collar crime doubled. A conference was held by South African Bankers and Business South Africa to combat crime and the Business against Crime Initiative (BAC) were founded. The initiative of BAC is to “build a moral culture in business through leadership and a reorientation in moral and work values within South African businesses Secondly, they want to assist the criminal justice system in becoming more effective in performing their duties” (Rossouw, (1997), p. 1544). A research study found that South African Businesses did not have Code of Ethics. “In this specific research done in the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies (ranked by return to shareholders), it was found that only 9 of them had ethical codes” (Rossouw, (1997), p. 1544). South Africa has limited resources in business ethics and would benefit tremendously from cooperation from concerned parties within Africa and internationally. The ethical perspective of China is that the country’s business ethics are rated as equal as any other country with standard business ethics. China believes that human resource [human resources] management plays an efficient role in building an organization because human resource [human resources] managers are responsible for creating policies within the organization. China’s acknowledges that other countries may perceive them as not having adequate business ethics but China seem to differ. According to Hulpke & Lau (2008), “One view holds that elements of Chinese culture tend to encourage business decisions based on relationships instead of what Westerners call “free and open competition” (p.59).

China feels that action has to be taken on the societal, individual and organizational levels to correct business ethics issues in China. China refers to the culture as DNA and believes that the culture of the organization will become unethical if it is not supported by ethical behaviors. “The perception is that some organizations are better, and probably more ethical, than others. In the best companies to work for, it is often the human resources management that differentiates good from bad, ethical from unethical” (Hulpke & Lau, (2008), p.61). The ethical perspective of South Africa is described in its character of the country being [Doctoral rule (but good advice for any academic writer)–If not a noun (as in “human being”), the word “Being” is hard to imagine; it means “existing.” Try to rewrite this without using “being”–with action words like “attending,” “working,” “living,” “experiencing,” simply “as”–or even removing “being” completely] in its first few years of democracy and acknowledges the desire to create and enforce stricter business ethics within the country. South Africa not only blames the oppressors who prohibited democracy shares equal fault with the business community. According to Rossouw (1997) “Ways and means must be found to convince the business community that a moral business culture is essential for business and for a good society.” (p. 1546). South Africa strives to achieve equal opportunities of entrance to world markets and has identified solutions to creating stronger business ethics. South Africa’s solutions to creating stronger business ethics are to encourage businesses to adopt ethical codes and cooperation between private sectors and academics on business ethics. “Such co-operation would offer benefits to both parties and would go a long way in stimulating the growth of the field of business ethics” (p.1545).

In comparison to the ethical perspective of China and the business ethics of the United States, China shares similar interests as the United States. China believes that human resources management plays an efficient role in building an organization. The United States views the same belief because every business has a human resources department and human resource [human resources] department creates and enforces policies along with providing direction to the employees of a company. China also believes that Law plays an important role at the societal level but is not enough to enforce business ethics in China because individuals make ethical decisions in the individual level, but society sets the tone. The United States also believes law plays an important role at the societal level and will enforce business ethics when companies are found in violation of any laws tied to the ethics of a business. China believes in nepotism while business ethics of the United States views nepotism as a conflict of interest. For example, China’s tradition of “Knowing an applicant or his or her family is considered an important ‘‘qualification,’’ and hiring of family members is common and expected. An American without cultural knowledge would probably consider this approach to be wrong—biased and discriminatory” (Nelson & Trevino, 2011, p.402). In comparison to the ethical perspectives of South Africa and the business ethics of the United States, South Africa’s perspectives are fairly different from those of the United States.

Africa is within its first years of Democracy and has been denied unfair entrance into world markets, whereas the United States has been always under democracy and support fair economic competition. The United States “believe that fair economic competition is one of the basic requirements for increasing the wealth of nations and, ultimately, for making possible the just distribution of goods and services” (Nelson & Trevino, (2011), p.444). South Africa’s perspective of requiring businesses to have code of ethic is similar to the business ethics of the United States. All major businesses in the United States have a code of ethics. Major companies in the United States have Code of Ethics and Social Responsibility statements made easily assessable by the public. Companies have created code of ethics and social responsibility statements to let the consumers know what they stand for. In other words it gives consumer their word on how they will behave ethically.

In conclusion, China’s perspective on ethics is that China’s business ethics can be viewed the same as any other country with standard business ethics. China believes that human resources management plays an effective role in building an organization. China’s perspective of ethics aligns with the business ethics of the United States concerning responsibilities of human resources management. South Africa’s perspective of ethics is different from the business ethics of the United States because the United States have been governed under democracy and supports fair competition, whereas South Africa is in its first few years of democracy and is working toward having a chance to enter into world markets. South Africa and China both feel that they have something to offer businesses globally, whether it’s manufactured goods or advice from personal experiences.

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