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The Golden Rule and the Global Ethics

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  • Pages: 10
  • Word count: 2337
  • Category: Ethics

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Globalization of both the economy and the society has confronted the world over the past decade. A shift of focus and interest from the local market to the international setting has demanded innovation not just in corporate leadership as new information; forms of communication and technology are being offered to be utilized in encouraging and reinforcing interaction among individuals. Increased market competition identifies continuous adjustment and improvement in the production lines of countries to recognize the participation of smaller units of the society. The introduction of the new division of international labor calls for evaluation and reorganization of the business operations as well as a reassessment of the governing economic policies of a country.

Global Rules and Global Ethics

            According to the Golden Rule there is a universal wisdom in becoming a global ethic. Global ethics is an effort to enhance universal perspectives on wisdom in different culture in the world, religions and secular philosophies. There is a trend in the global society that revolves around multi-racial;, multi-cultural and multi-religious circle of humanity. The golden rule is as follows (McKenna, 2005):

            “No human life without a world ethic for the nations.”

            “No peace among the nations without peace among the religions”

            “No peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions.”

Most of the successful business endeavors depend greatly on good interpersonal communication and relationship between the service or product providers and their clients. Persuading customers on trying the offered services and products is only a start on putting up a successful entrepreneurial activity. Gaining the trust of the clients and maintaining patrons is very important to ideal business transaction flows. But all these will be put to waste if issues and problems brought about by cultural differences between employers and employees arise in an organization functioning to achieve a common goal.

            The advances in technology and the fast modernization of the world, in general, opened new and very promising avenues of business opportunities not just in an individual’s locale but also abroad. A lot of business-minded individuals from different countries with different nationalities and cultural orientation have and continuously defied the geographic boundaries that exist between continents. This is evident in the growing number of internationally-operating business firms all over the world run by entrepreneurs of varying race and culture.

The information man has successfully rebelled against intercontinental borders and the challenge that confronts him the most, deals with how to fit and blend in the new cultural environment in which their businesses are situated. Being able to overcome cultural differences in the workplace and making business transactions and communication within business organizations to promote good working relationships will definitely put a business endeavor into a success wherever the location may be.

            It is apparent how the relatively liberal Western culture and the relatively conservative Eastern culture pose differences when compared. It is a common knowledge that Americans and Europeans are perceived to be more independent, competitive and aggressive in the way they deal with situations and people compared to Asians whose approach to communication is grounded on the belief of the goodness preserving and maintaining harmonious relationships within the business organization.

In the book entitled Personal Relationships across Cultures by Robin Goodwin (1999), Trompenaars (1993) pointed out that business relationship in particularist cultures like in China tend to be less stiff and formal between employers and employees but the commitment between them is strong. In the same book, Shenkar and Ronen (1997) found that Chinese people communicate in a way that upholds traditional values of harmony and kinship affiliation as compared to North Americans. Japanese entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are considered neutral in this respect because they feel that expressing emotions in the workplace is “unprofessional”. Other cultures, that are considered to be relatively affective, feel that the indifference of neutral colleagues in the office is a manifestation of dislike and superiority among co-employees.

 A lot of studies have been conducted pertaining to cultural differences as comparisons between the Western and Eastern cultures have been very common. Such studies cut across gender and ethnicity in differing levels of analysis, context and issues critically addressed by some authors.           According to Henderson (1994), the 1992 United States General Accounting Office report entitled Immigration and the Labor Market stated the rampant interest in the entry of alien workers in the American workforce was perceived by some to be to be a solution to size and capability problems of the United States (US) labor force while seen by others as a threat to jobs of American workers.

It was mentioned further that foreign workers usually enter the US workforce in the most menial positions although they held higher positions in their native land. Most of them were employed through the underground job market where their employers do not have to pay for their compensation insurance and withholding taxes, hence, such employers profit more. Findings such as these give birth to social issues and problems that international business organizations face within the workplace concerning effective management.

In a case study of expatriate assignments of women managers in Chile conducted by Owen and Scherer (2002), it was found out that women in particular will encounter the possibility of negative stereotyping from co-workers, managers and clients in the host country regarding their roles and that dedicated efforts in preparing women for expatriate assignments through in-country support system can make international assignment more effective for women employees and the organization itself.

            Studies on organizational communication have always been used by large companies so as to ensure good working relationships among employees as well as to evaluate the relationship among members and staff of big corporations. Casmir (1997) further elaborated that the idea of global community in a model that suggests intercultural and international communication and ethical problems to best address the immediate need is of much importance to truly build a global community.

Inquiries have been made in order to realize how the Eastern and Western culture differ in the work setting by comparing the evident and obvious contrasts between different cultural orientations and ethnicity. Such differences include most recurring ethical dilemmas brought about by race in business where employees and staff of varying cultural orientations who work together as an organization.

Raemer (2000) in his journal article proposes the use of ethics audit in the company is composed of decision-making protocols designed to address ethical dilemmas which includes an outline of steps to follow in dealing with ethical problems in the workplace so as to identify ethical issues in the practice settings, assess risk levels, rank order each issue, and eventually develop a strategy to minimize risks. He concluded that social workers have not had access to a structured guide to help to help them assess their efforts to identify and address key ethical issues. Such issues usually comprise confidentiality and privacy, service delivery, professional boundaries, informed consent, defamation, practitioner impairment, and termination of services.

Studies on organizational communication have always been used by large companies so as to ensure good working relationships among employees as well as to evaluate the relationship among members and staff of big corporations. Casmir (1997) further elaborated that the idea of global community in a model that suggests intercultural and international communication and ethical problems to best address the immediate need is of much importance to truly build a global community.

Inescapable as it may seem, workplace dilemmas brought about by different cultures are unavoidable and should be expected at work especially in business firms owned or controlled by individuals from a different cultural orientation especially when they employ the local citizens in their international operations.

Dealing properly with situations such as instances of principled power struggle between supervisors and subordinates from different cultural orientations, will be of much help in running a business firm properly and successfully. Addressing conflicts and working out understanding by compromising for the good of all will pave the way to maintain smooth working relationships among the employees, staff, supervisors and subordinates.

The business environment has long been characterized with complex interrelationships among and between companies belonging to the same industry. With the internationalization trend in the business community in different countries all over the world, the observing good ethical practices is paramount to every business transaction and deals in successfully operating in the global market.

The trust, honesty, responsibility, integrity and accountability between transacting business firms and organizations are values which serve as the key foundation of gaining credibility and good position in the international arena. Hence, standardization of the code of ethics in the corporate world was realized and enacted through the legalization and enforcement of laws and policies that will protect the interests of business establishments. Such legal move resulted to the proper attitude and behavior among business organizations with business transactions thereby decreasing the number of business-related cases filed.

Corporate social responsibility can be defined as the duty of organizations to conduct their business in a manner that respects the rights of individuals and promotes human welfare (Farmer & Hogue, 1985). While the level of social responsibility exhibited by multinational corporations is said to be improving, perfection has hardly been attained. Governments and people around the world seem to have an increasing interest in scrutinizing the actions of global corporations, in effect forcing international companies to be good corporate citizens.

Corporate responsibility is supported by the concepts of multidimensional definitions and social marketing. In the multidimensional definitions concept, the focus is on the major responsibilities expected from companies. These major responsibilities include economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic dimensions. These responsibilities must be performed in order to benefit not only the company operators but also their employees, customers, the community and the general public. (Mclaren, 1996) notes that the social marketing concept of corporate responsibility stresses that company should operate in a way that maintains or enhances the well-being of its customers as well as its society.

Social responsibility in business has been debated for a long time, and several sides of the issue have been presented by ethicists. This debate has been extended in recent years to include the operations of multinational companies. Thus, it is important to view some of the changes in the attitudes and behaviors of multinational companies and their perceptions of corporate social responsibility in light of the evolving nature and composition of global competition (Curlee, 1994).

Business culture has turned its focus when the businesses penetrate globally. There had been dispute, argument, confusion and debate towards the subject “social responsibility” in business arena. Many believed that it is a tool to change the business set up to promote a more well working environment. However, there are also cynical about the existence of social responsibility and its role in managing the business.

Even so in history, the topic of social responsibility has received so much attention when it first came into popularity in the developed world. It became controversial because of its inconsistencies with the free enterprise system. However, whenever we view today’s scenario, there are indications that social responsibility has become an obligation for any business, and that it is permanent fixture on the corporate business scene (Karake-Shalhoub, 1999).

According to Marnet (2005), a country’s system of corporate governance comprises the formal and informal rules, accepted practices and enforcement mechanisms, public and private, which together govern the relationships between people who effectively control corporations on one hand, and all other who may invest resources in companies located in the country, on the other. They emphasized that well-governed companies with actively traded shares should be able to raise funds from non-controlling investors at significantly lower cost than poorly governed companies; because of the greater risk premium such potential investors can be expected to demand for investing – if they accept to invest at all – in less governed companies.

For instance, Khanna, Kogan and Palepu (2006) found significant evidence that economically interdependent countries follow similar corporate governance laws and policies that protect the stakeholders on the companies. However, there is no relationship between corporate governance practices and globalization although globalization may have induced the standardization of corporate governance across countries but which does not necessarily imply implementation.

Moreover, complete convergence to single corporate governance has been impossible as evident in the number of deviations implemented by different business organizations originating from different countries. The diverse cultural orientation and cultural values among different business institutions likewise may have contributed to the number of corporate governance that are practiced respectively by organizations.

This is reflective in the differing legal systems of the countries that incorporate different corporate laws and policies. Those business organizations that illustrated similar corporate governance approaches as evident in their laws and policies are characterized with similar geographic location as well as cultural orientation. The study deepened the academic investigation by delving into the comparisons between countries, industries as well as firms (Khanna, Kogan & Palepu, 2006).


Casmir, F. (1997). Ethics in Intercultural and International Communication. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Goodwin, R. (1999). Personal Relationships across Cultures. London:             Routledge.

Henderson, G. (1994). Cultural Diversity in the Workplace: Issues and Strategies. London: Routledge.

Karake-Shalhoub, Z. (1999) Organizational Downsizing, Discrimination and Corporate Social Responsibility. Westport, CT. Quorum Books.

Maclaren, V. W. (1996). Urban Sustainability Reporting. Journal of the American  Planning Association. 62, 2 (spring): 184-202.

Marnet, O. (2005 September). Behavior and Rationality in Corporate Governance. Journal of economic Issues, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 613-632.

Owen, C. and Scherer, R. (2002). Doing Business in Latin America: Managing Cultural Differences in Perceptions of Female Expatriates. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 67, 1.

Reamer, F. G. (1999). Social work values and ethics (2nd ed.). New York: Columbia University Press.

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