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Global Business Ethics

It is no great surprise that cultural issues are at the forefront of concerns among many in the ethics and compliance communities of global organizations. It is likely that attention on global programs will only increase, given the prevalence of worldwide scandals such as Parmalat and Enron and recent culture clashes involving legal challenges to the use of helplines for reporting misconduct among multinational companies operating in Europe. Similarly, there is heightened concern around ethical leadership and decision-making in international development and global not-for-profit organizations.

Perhaps, though, even more critical for most global ethics and compliance professionals are the simpler and smaller issues that arise due to noncompliant practices in the day-to-day experiences of their multinational workforce—where different attitudes and beliefs coexist about what is and is not considered appropriate and "ethical" behavior. It is inevitable that expectations of how to interpret values will vary across the languages, locations, and cultures involved.

Given the challenge of educating employees on what constitutes ethical behavior in the eyes of organizational leadership, the stockholders, and even the public...what then is an ethics and compliance professional to do? Cultural Detective Global Business Ethics is designed to help relate the typical values found in a Code of Conduct to the range of ways they are likely to be interpreted or "translated" during real world scenarios in different national cultural contexts.

Cultural Detective Global Business Ethics first presents a survey of codes of conduct from around the world, laying a platform to then contrast organizational values against the "Values Lenses" and prevailing belief systems of various cultures. Case studies are then used to help identify where cultural differences are likely to arise regarding "ethical" behavior, depending on one's worldview regarding what it means to behave ethically in a given context. Then, to help professionals better manage cultural differences and start to bridge the gaps posed by geographic, linguistic, and cultural divides present in their organizations—tools and frameworks are outlined that will help them frame their organization's particular definitions of misconduct, appropriate behavior, and ethical decision-making in ways that will be meaningful and relevant for all employees.

Click here to view a narrated presentation (turn on your computer speakers).

Cultural Detective Global Business Ethics contains the following stories and critical incidents:

  • Offensive Symbolism?:

    A newsletter is shared between the India office and Headquarters.

  • Supply Chain Difficulties:

    The wrong product arrives at an Argentine port.

  • Informal Dinner, An:

    A purchasing manager is invited to dinner with his Arab Gulf colleagues.

  • Familiar Recommendation, A:

    A Chinese sales representative recommends a potential vendor.

  • Written Warning, A:

    A regional manager visits a local processing plant in Brazil.

  • Tax Savings:

    A German auditor identifies tax saving opportunities at an EU location.

  • Dangerous Emissions?:

    A Russian agricultural scientist discovers conflicting emissions standards.

  • Intellectual Property:

    A Chinese design agency prepares a mock-up brochure for a client.

In addition to the GBE Lens, critical incidents, and sample debriefs, CD Global Business Ethics contains a review of global standards of ethical and compliant behavior, a summary of comprehensive research on organizational codes of conduct, and eight national Values Lenses. Thus, it is priced higher than our other packages.

Cultural Detective Global Business Ethics was authored by Monica Francois Marcel, Randall Stieghorst and Dianne Hofner Saphiere.