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Business Ethics in Relation to Culture

Do you believe that businesses should adapt to the values of different cultures when making business transactions to gain market share or should they apply a universal set of standards? What should companies do when working in areas where there is such inequality? Can companies outside of the culture insist that the host country change their ways? Is that ethical?

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Early scholars attempted to address the question, is morality universal? Kant (Barnes, 1984) and Socrates (Fuller, 1965) believed that morality was situational and thus, could not be simply defined as right or wrong. Critics of early moral relativists argued for moral absolutism/ moral universalism (Gowans, 2004; Lukes & Runciman, 1974). Plato and Aristotle believed that actions are moral or immoral regardless of individual, societal, or cultural variables. Multiple viewpoints and theories related to morality have been incessantly debated, and one true answer regarding morality has yet to be confirmed (Pojman & Fieser, 2010).
Schwartz (1999) and Cahill (2002) believe that universal values and ability to distinguish right from wrong are engrained in all humans, regardless of nationality or other professional context variables. Schwartz (1999) and Cahill's (2002) research has been cited as a baseline belief supported by theorists who continuously advocate for universal ethical standards or codes of ethics (Ameer, 2013; Apel, 2000; Ignatieff, 2012). Those opposing universal ethical standards argue that cultural variability is undeniable (Donnelly, 1984), morality is dependent upon the principles that one emulates (Harman, 1975, 2000), and that too many factors influence one's ethical/ moral compass (Morgan, 2011).
To understand the universality and transferability of ethical decision making, additional research related to the various influential components of ethics is needed. Thus, to create codes of ethics that are not only widely used, but also highly regarded and frequently applied, a working understanding of the impact of various factors, specifically demographics, as related to ethics is essential ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides an overview of cultural differences (domestic and international) relate to ethics and values. The solution highlights important business topics such as universal standards, ethical differences/ inequalities, cultural imperialism, etc.