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The Cultural Dimension of Business Ethics

2.0 Culture & cultural dimensions 

If we take culture as the "context of interpretation" as d’Iribarne15 , we shall fall into the hands of relativism, however if we can find the underlying principles constituting the "context" and its "interpretation" we might discover the universal nature of culture. What do we mean by culture as the "context of interpretation"? Context = being in the world ; interpretation = being with others / The "they" the inter-subjective element ; ethical theories = methods to evaluate Norms.

In observing cultures several dimensions have become accepted categories in which to analyse them. For example, when trying to develop a strategy in managing staff we may refer to Hofestede’s work on the ‘power distance’ dimension. We see the relationship to authority is viewed differently from diverse cultures. Those with a ‘high’ power distance tend to respect hierarchy and accept authority. Staff expects to be directed more, less initiative taken. In cultures with ‘low’ power distance they tend to be more democratic and staff expects to have a more active part in decision making.16 We could also, use Hall’s descriptive analysis of the time dimension in terms of monochronic and polychronic cultures.17 In mono-chronic ones the time frame is sequential doing one thing at a time (one thing after another.) Tasks are done one at a time, finishing one and starting another. In polychronic cultures, people do many things at the same time, can be interrupted, etc. These two modes of time structure our behaviour. Once we start identifying the different cultural categorizations we can adapt the appropriate style of management to use.  

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? / 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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