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Ethical Issues in International Business

Suppose a young female with a MBA who took a job at a bank right of college and within 3 years received 3 promotions and was succeeding in the business was given the opportunity to work at the banks Mexico City office. While there she was treated without respect and not viewed as authority from the clients and her co worker (a man) would patronized her in front of the clients. He also had the female workers where uniforms of some sexy nature that she found offensive.

His offense was that he was playing the game Latin style. That the Clients don't understand a woman in authority and it wouldn't affect her reviews by having them believe she was his assistant. He urged her to try and be more flexible and more feminine.

She discussed this with the vice president on his trip there Who told her that there were certain realities she would have to see through but over time she found herself becoming more aggressive and defensive in her meeting with her co worker and her clients which affected her review.

What obligations do you feel the bank has to ensure that its employees are not harmed, for instance, by having their chances for advancement limited by the social customs of a host country?
What international moral code, if any, is being violated by the Bank?
Has the bank made the correct decision by opting to follow the norms of the host country?
How would you recommend that Tom handle this particular situation?
What steps should the bank take to avoid and resolve situations similar to this in the future when employees are offended or harmed by host country practices?

Solution Preview

First of all, let's consider what ethics is all about. As a branch of philosophy, ethics is about morality. The only question is, whose morality? When we consider ethics, we must consider right behaviour. If we look at a system of morality that just about every rationale individual on the earth would tend to agree with, I think we could choose something quite simple. Richard Maybury put it well. He calls it The Two Laws.

1. Do not encroach on other persons or their property
2. Do all that you have agreed to do

These two great laws of society underpin ethical behaviour. So, in a sense, ethical behaviour is all about the "Golden Rule" -- doing to others what you would want them to do to you.

So, when we look at the three main people involved, we must ask ourselves the question, Are they treating others the way they would want to be treated? If not, then their behaviour is less than ethical. Simple. It's really that simple.

What obligations do you feel the bank has to ensure that its employees are not harmed, for instance, by having their chances for advancement limited by the social customs of a host country? Well, obviously, the bank has an obligation to treat its employees with respect. That would be ethical. In addition, the bank has the responsibility to inform its employees about its standard operating procedures, particularly when those operating procedures differ in different host countries. ...

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