Melissa Bajorek, a writer for the Internet self-help site “eHow,” states that there are four ethical dilemmas in doing business internationally. First topic discussed are labor issues are a common problem for businesses in developing countries. In many countries children are expected to work at young ages in order to help provide for the family. Many companies are faced with making the decision of having higher profits and employing children or slightly lower profits and employ adults.
Second dilemma faced by businesses is bribing officials. Although in the U.S. there are severe punishments faced for bribing government officials, that is not true everywhere. In some countries however it is customary for gifts to be exchanged when two companies are about to form a contract. An article published by The Economist discusses how the line between a ceremonial gift and a bribe can...
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... as a gift. Lastly, Thomas reminds us that context matters. Some practices are wrong in any setting, while others may be acceptable in a certain setting but unethical in another. Sometimes large machinery used everyday in a country like the U.S. is required for a job in a poorer country. The machinery is safe in qualified hands, but in the poorer country workers may not be suited to operate the machinery.
Ethical standards are an important part of all business activities. A company that attempts to make a quick profit by hiding unethical behavior in foreign will only end up hurting themselves in the long run. The expansion of the Internet and international communications is making it harder for companies to get away with unethical work done overseas. If a company wishes to succeed in the long run it needs to have a strong code of ethics that is put to use every day.
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