Write a 250–500 word analysis in which you examine several philosophical approaches to ethics and the role of social responsibility in international business.
An organization’s approach to business ethics is a critical aspect of international business operations. Managers must understand that success may hinge on an astute analysis of ethical business practices and how a particular philosophical approach to ethics can affect an organization’s ethical standing abroad.
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A business manager in a corporation involved with international business faces numerous challenges. One that seems particularly challenging is the issue of business ethics. Most would agree that it is difficult to come up with a single definition of ethics that would be agreed to across all countries and cultures. Thus by definition, a business manager involved with international business faces challenges at the most basic level, which is how to define business ethics, and then even more prominently how to interpret, monitor, and ensure appropriate compliance with policies put in place. It is very common to see business news headlines of some company (even a highly respected company) suddenly facing a major issue (often, a crisis) associated with ethics.
As a way to help manage this, Apple Computer put a “Supplier Responsibility” program in place, whereby they try to ensure all of their suppliers are meeting the policies they have defined, including particularly those related to business ethics (Hyatt, 2011). It is clear that Apple’s program requires a major investment, including auditing their suppliers and then taking whatever action is deemed appropriate, even terminating their relationships with some suppliers.
Foreign investment is yet another area that is both complex and controversial. On one hand, business managers might consider it an appropriate strategy to own (or at least invest in) organizations that they are involved with, regardless of if those organizations are in their “home country” or not, so as to have better control over how that organization operates (at both the strategic and tactical levels). On the other hand, many governments have laws in place that restrict or control various types of “foreign ownership.” One interesting company related to this topic is Schlumberger, the very large oil services company. Schlumberger’s culture is truly multi-national, and their managers perceive the company as a “world” company rather than one associated with a given country. They do business in most countries in the world and attempt to distance themselves from politics and many country-specific issues. Most would likely say that Schlumberger is highly respected and successful on a global basis and has established a fairly unique culture in the context of globalization.
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