As is the case with most things related to business, globalization
has its pros and its cons. Most of the pros lean towards the bottom
line and money saved, and globalization does, indeed often mean jobs
for people in other parts of the world. That in and of itself brings
with it questions of international
business ethics, as do most of the cons related to globalization.
Here is a look at 5 areas of international business that raise moral
issues related to globalization.
Even people like humanitarian
aid workers face backlash from environmental groups from time to
time, when local resources are affected by the creation of hospitals
and things of the like. Depending on the scale of an operation, and
especially those involving manufacturing, losses of biodiversity,
ecosystem effects, global warming, and pollution of the local land are
all issues that globalization can greatly affect. Advances in green
materials and more of a focus on utilizing local resources are helping
slow the curve of environmental issues caused by globalization.
Cultural diversity is an issue that is much more easily solved than
the others on this list. If your company is moving to a global scale
(and even if they are not), training focuses on diversity and
inclusion should be musts. It’s also a win-win situation, as in
addition to being morally sound, companies touted for their inclusion
practices also retain employees and customers at higher clips than
Labor laws differ in the United States from state to state, and from
country to country, the changes are even greater. With these changes
come moral dilemmas, and it is up to a company to decide if they want
to follow labor laws that are practiced stateside, or labor laws in a
given locale where work is performed. Many companies wind up in hot
water for not being transparent about the labor practices of their
employees overseas, and the best thing to do is to be straightforward
with your customers, especially if your company falls into the camp of
leniency relevant to locale.
Marketing standards are also vastly different across the globe,
including in how much a given company can bend the truth relative to
their product or service. In the United States, there are several
commissions that enforce and encourage morally sound marketing
practices, and certain things are, indeed, illegal. Much like the
labor issues, it is up to a company to decide if their moral compass
will align with U.S. laws, or local laws (or a lack thereof).
Hopefully your company’s own
standards dictate practices even more ethically just that what is
required by law.
All across the globe, human rights violations are occurring. Some
places where atrocities happen may have business interests, and this
causes moral dilemmas. A common example would be the diamond trade,
which often produces jewels mined by slave labor.
Codes of Conduct
Ultimately, a company’s own guidelines should dictate overseas
operations and decisions regarding negative of effects of
globalization. Ethical leadership leads to ethical workers making
ethical decisions, and there is never too much training on morality,
especially in the global market.