Ethics – “a Double-Edged Sword” Essay

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Purpose: The purpose of this essay is to critically discuss the moral challenges faced by organizations while operating overseas. It analytically assesses the suggested moral codes and some of the “poison pills”. Ethics – “A theory or system of moral values; principles of conduct governing an individual or a group; a guiding philosophy or a consciousness of moral importance.” (Merriam-Webster). Ethics, in the business world, is essentially a critical and structured look into the functioning of, not only, the organization but individuals within. Critical because it critiques morals, norms and practices which, admittedly, is not always easy. It always starts with an understanding and acceptance of one’s own beliefs for only then can a person go beyond his own means and open-mindedly accept others. There is a fine line between being judgmental and judging fairly. Critical because it deals with the omnipotent question regarding a person’s decisions in situations wherein the norms, morals, bahaviours or practices are contradictory to what they consider their own. The structural component of Ethics comes from the fact that there has to be an attempt to establish some sort of a code or theory, which aims to unite people’s moral beliefs. If understanding is the beginning then attempting to rationalize and unify beliefs is the goal. This aim, thereby, makes ideas such as Corporate Social Responsibility or Global Corporate Citizenship fall within the threshold on Ethics. This, also, raises the question whether there is any true difference between a person’s own ethical code and the ethical code of business; or is an “ethical business” an oxymoron. This leads us to discuss the three generally accepted ethical and moral codes or guidelines. The first guideline is the concept of “Ethnocentrism”. This theory propagates the application of one’s own ethical beliefs while

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