Global Business and Ethics Paper
As former third world countries like China and India continue to grow and become major players in the global marketplace ethical dilemmas also continue to grow. While our media focuses on the state of our economy and on the deteriorating jobs market here at home we have lost focus on the fact that we live in a global economy and that many of the jobs we have lost here have gone overseas. Many of these jobs have gone to countries such as China and India where the hours are long and the wages are low. The governments in these countries are desperate for these jobs and for foreign investors to help their growing economies and for these reasons many times the government restrictions are kept at a minimum. Unfortunately many of the foreign companies are all too eager to exploit the cheap labor they have found and that is when the ethical dilemmas arise.
Many companies have their headquarters in the United States, but
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During the night of December 2, 1984 large amounts of water entered a tank containing a chemical known as MIC. The reaction of the water and the chemical caused the temperature within the tank to increase to over 200 degrees Celsius, which in turn raised the pressure to a level the tank was not designed to withstand. This forced emergency venting of the pressure from the MIC tank which released a large volume of toxic gas into the atmosphere. A mixture of poisonous gases flooded the city of Bhopal, causing great panic as people woke up with a burning sensation in their lungs. Thousands died immediately from the effects of the gas and many were trampled in the panic.
Many different factors have been theorised to contribute to what some have called the world’s worst industrial disaster, some of those include industrial sabotage and poor cleaning techniques. What became clear in the aftermath of the disaster was that economic pressures to reduce expenses contributed most to the actual leak, the problem was then made worse by the plant's location near a densely populated area, as well as non-existent catastrophe plans. In addition there were found to be serious communication problems and and management gaps between Union Carbide and its Indian operation because of the parent companies hands-off approach to its overseas operation.
Unfortunately in this example the cost of ignoring ethics was a serious loss of life. Many companies around the world are having to look at their business model and wondering if it’s worth casting their ethics aside in pursuit of the bottom line. International business ethics is becoming very important in view of the globalization of business activity. Companies all over the world have been forced to come to grips with the costs and consequences of unethical behavior that result from cultural differences. There is no true global consensus on what is morally correct.
Gan, J. (n.d.). Cultural Differences in Global Settings. Retrieved August 25, 2009, from http://www.succezz.com/Articles/business-ethics-dilemma-reason4.html
Wikipedia.org. (n.d.). Bhopal disaster. Retrieved August 25, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster#Summary_of_background_and_causes