unethical reputation

Communication: Crossroad of Globalisation
Title: Managing ethical issues in global business
Dr G Napal
Faculty of Law and Management
University of Mauritius
[email protected]
Presently Senior Lecturer at the University of Mauritius; teaches ‘Business Ethics’ at
undergraduate and postgraduate levels;
Areas of research include ‘Business Ethics’ and ‘Corruption’ in the context of developing
Doctoral dissertation: ‘Modelling Business Ethics in the Developing World’.
Publications include papers published in ‘Business Ethics: A European Review’;
‘International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management’; ‘Electronic
Journal of Business Ethics and Organisational Studies’;
Conference papers include papers presented at the Management Conference 2004,
International Conference on Business and Information 2006, forthcoming Triple Helix
Conference 2007.
The common perception that business and ethics are not compatible somehow contributes
to unethical modes of doing business on the global market. However, considering the
costs associated with unethical business, the trend is slowly changing as executives
recognise that business decisions impact on the goodwill of their organisation. The
implications of unethical conduct in global business can no longer be overlooked if the
intention is to protect one’s reputation.
Unethical acts commonly encountered in business include bribery and ‘gifts’. Given the
cultural differences that prevail across borders, there are divergences of opinion as to
what constitutes bribery. For example, what is regarded as a token in one country can be
termed as bribery in a different part of the world (Pacini et al., 2002). The climate of
globalisation calls for vision, imagination, creativity and judgement (Johnson et al. 2006;
Jones and English, 2004; Ratcliffe, 2006). After all, the cultivation of a moral business
culture is a necessary condition if the business corporation is to preserve its reputation at
international level and maintain good business relations (Rossouw, 1998). Ethical
differences arise from divergences in culture across borders. The key to resolving such
ethical issues that result from such divergences resides in good communication
New demands associated with globalisation include a need for greater vision, quality
communication and creativity. At a micro-level, training in ethics and communication
should complement corporate codes of ethics. While business partners fulfil their
responsibility towards their stakeholders, it is the duty of government to foster corporate
social responsibility and sustain efforts towards the convergence of ethics by providing
the necessary infrastructure at national level (Carson, 2003; Garofalo, 2003) and this
includes putting in place appropriate communication devices. Such initiative would help
maintain healthy business relations while sustaining competitive advantage and economic
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