Relationship to transnational management issues

The original flaw of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was that it did not enforce international business ethics in any kind of uniform way. Only companies operating in America were subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; many other companies would still bribe foreign officials in order to obtain business, and thus, would have an unfair advantage against American businesses. As a result, America sought the creation of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

The Convention had a number of different countries sign on to it, all of which agreed to pass domestic legislation akin to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in order to prevent such practices in international business. This Convention represents some of the strongest support for an international business ethics code uniformly agreed upon by member nations. To find out more about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and its effects upon American and international business, follow the link.

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Bribery is one of the practices which is most difficult to deal with in terms of international business ethics, as there are as many different views on bribery as there are cultures. Some cultures do not believe bribery is much of an issue at all and do not see the need to seek its prosecution. Other cultures view bribery as something to be expected, a common courtesy and gesture of standard polite practice. Yet other cultures view even such activities as tipping and leaving gratuities to be a form of unacceptable bribery.

Bribery is even more difficult to deal with because not all countries have statutes that ban the bribery of government officials. Thus, in some countries, bribery of government officials in business dealings would be considered highly unethical and illegal, while in other countries bribery of government officials would be perfectly accepted. Navigating this mass of cultural landmines is the major difficulty of any kind of dealings with a focus on international business ethics.

While companies could simply adopt the ethics of the society in which they are dealing, the problem is that this would allow them to act in ways both unethical and damaging to most forms of business. After all, if one company can get an illegitimate advantage by bribing government officials, then it upsets the basic nature of capitalism. International business ethics, then, needs to be used to somehow deal with multiple cultures in a uniformly ethical fashion. To find out more about the difficulties and nature of bribery, click the link.

The enforcement of international business ethics is just as difficult as the establishment of any kind of coherent uniform set of international business ethics codes and rules. Different nations do not have power over each other. As one nation may have a culture that believes bribery is an acceptable practice, it does not have to obey the laws of another nation where bribery is outlawed. This is the primary problem of enforcing any kind of international business ethics code.

The only body which can legitimately exert some kind of power over international governance is the United Nations, but its power is very much limited. Other than that, no government can implement some kind of law to enforce international business ethics and then expect that law to be obeyed by all other nations.

Indeed, most nations’ laws end at their borders and, as a result, so does any power behind enforcing each nation’s international business ethics code. Follow the link for more information on the problems facing the enforcement of international business ethics.


1. What is the relationship to transnational management issues/considerations in covid-19 and post-covid-19 environment?

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