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Ethical Corporate Culture & Guidelines Essay

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International Journal of Trade, Economics and Finance, Vol. 1, No. 2, August, 2010
2010-023X
151
1
Abstract—The ethical relativist’s creed is “When in Rome do
as the Roman do”. For the ethical relativist nothing is sacred
and nothing is wrong. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the
creed of ethical imperialism which is anchored in the theory of
absolutism and directs people to do everywhere exactly as they
would do in their home country. How can companies which are
doing bulk of their business offshore shape their ethical
corporate culture so that they can train their overseas managers
to distinguish between practices that are merely different from
those that are wrong? This paper tries to identify guidelines for
ethical leadership that can help corporations work through the
maze of cultural differences and establish codes of conduct for
globally ethical business practices.
Index Terms—ethical relativism, ethical corporate culture,
ethical leadership
I. INTRODUCTION
Ethical Relativism is the philosophical viewpoint which
holds that there are no absolute moral truths, only truths
relative to the cultural context in which they exist. It follows
therefore that what one society considers as being morally
right, another society may consider being morally wrong;
therefore, moral rights and wrongs are only relative to a
particular society. The strength of ethical relativism as a
philosophy is that it allows holding fast to a societies’ moral
intuitions without having to be judgmental about other
societies that do not share those intuitions. If ethical
relativism is rejected by these societies, they will face many
difficulties. If societies are to be consistent about their moral
beliefs then it seems that societies ought to condemn those
past societies that have not conformed and perhaps even seek
to impose their moral code on those present societies that
have not already accepted it. However, ethical relativism
allows societies to...

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