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The Cultural Dimension of Business Ethics

1.1 Cultural dimensions impact on management 

Business practices are extensions of cultures. In management, culture influences, and sometimes even determines policy, style, structure, etc. of the organization. When managing a company in a domestic operation with an homogeneous culture everyone seems to speak the same language, understand the same cues, have similar values & norms. According to Lauren’s survey, the role of a manager to Americans is considered a ‘problem solver’ as opposed to his/her French counterpart, who to the French is considered an ‘expert’.9 Business has so rapidly developed globally, management is no longer restricted to the domestic territory, but has gone beyond national borders and constantly confronts cultural diversity. The American manager, in a French subsidiary, may be quite ineffective as a ‘problem solver’ for the French staff may consider him/her incompetent, whereas, the French manager managing an American organization might be considered too directive in his response to staff’s questions.  

On an organizational level, culture influences the structures as well as the behaviour of the different stakeholders. Depending upon the organization, the response to operating globally10 varies from : 

Ethnocentric approach : our way is the best way

Parochial " : our way is the only way

Synergetic " : managing with diversity 

Excluding the synergetic approach (which is the most uncommon of the three), the corporate culture doesn’t usually take into account the national culture its operating in. The corporate culture and its norms override the national culture’s norms. However, this universal view of a corporate culture does not erase cultural influences. In fact, organization culture magnifies cross-cultural differences, rather than minimizing them.11  

Thus, cultural differences in organizations dealing internationally have their greatest impact mainly in motivation, teamwork, negotiations, decision-making, and mergers & acquisitions.  

1.0 Cultural dimensions of Business Ethics  
1.1 Cultural dimensions impact on management 
1.2  Management & ethics 
2.0 Culture & cultural dimensions
2.1 Culture as context of interpretation
2.2 Cultural dimensions
3.0 Ethics & ethical theories
3.1 Ethics in moral choice : what is ethical? / what is an ethical issue?  
3.2 Evaluating ethical situations
4.0 Cultural relativism / ethical universalism
About Gale Prawda
Footnotes


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Guided by Gale Prawda, Ph.D.:
– Certified philosophy practitioner, SCP,U.K.
Founder café philo in English : Paris, London
Socratic Dialogue Facilitator, Oxford U.K.
Lecturer on Business Ethics, Cross-cultural Management and Communication, Philosophy & Business Strategy

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