In the every spare of life, we are always challenged to do the right thing for own and others benefit so as to live in harmony. This includes the economic and business entities which are profits oriented. Hence, as much as the business pursues its goals it must make sure its actions and that of its employees are acceptable and justifiable by the culture/community in which it is located. In essences, human beings are guided by the principle of satisfying their interest and needs. As such companies act the same. However, we must remember we exist in the society with norms and morals which call for accountability of own action. Thus, as much as we have the free will and the urge to satisfy our needs, we must remember not to detriment the needs and the rights/freedom of others in the society. Therefore, a company must have some code of ethics that guide its actions and that of its employees in general. Hence, these codes of ethics help the company to serve its customers and its employees responsibly without infringing on their rights. On the other hand, these code of ethics acts as a manual to employees that guide them in their professionals by being professional and responsible. However, this has not been always the case with multinational companies with branches in different countries with different cultures. Thus, the codes ethics in one country cannot work in a different country due to culture diversity. Therefore, this calls for customization of codes of ethics to fit a certain culture so that there can be professionalism (LRNGlobal, 2007).
Nonetheless, there is still beg the question as to what extent does ethics and professional standards which have been set by the mother country apply to a country with different culture? This calls for a systematic, calculated and holistic approach that maintains and reflect the professionalism that is geared toward corporate responsible conduct by the company and its employees. Hence, the company must design the ethics based on the values and principle by which it was founded. While at the same time incorporate the local policies and values which are cherished by the community/culture in which the company is located. As such, the multinational company will continue to reinforce the value and the goals it seeks to achieve globally by encouraging professional responsibility of its employees globally. On the other hand, customization of the code ethics to fit to a certain culture, demonstrates the company commitment in alleviating the lives of the society and its respects to the culture and its workforce. Thus, the management of the company must include the locals in drafting the codes so that the code has a local image of developing the local culture, and same time reflects the values of the multination company. Therefore, the code developed with the help of the locals must provide clear responsibility of the company to the society and the responsibility of the employees in their day to day engagements and interaction. The codes should be valued based, in that it should reflect the principle and value of the global company but must have a local image. As such the local, language norms and values should be reflected. For example, if the local norms require the women to cover their head while public, the company should include this in its code under the official dressing code. In addition, if the locals value the act of helping the vulnerable, poor and less fortunate in the society. The company should create a culture of helping in the office and engage in a corporate social responsibility to help the needy and offer the minority groups chance of employment. However, co-values of the company such as honesty, professionalism, efficiency or integrity should be maintained. Hence, this will make the locals feel they own the company not the foreigners who are trying to impose their foreign culture on them (LRNGlobal, 2007).
Therefore, for a multinational to determine the acceptable professional standards and ethics applicable to various cultures, they should design an acceptable code around the globe that is in line with the company’s values. However, individual projects and companies in each country should be allowed to form their codes that reflect the values of the main company.
One would wonder why code of ethics be an issue and should a multinational go to the extent of adopting a code that reflects the image of locals? The simple answer to this is simply to reduce conflict at work station and encourage professionalism at the work station. Furthermore, it fosters a culture of accountability and responsible for one’s action. Therefore, the code is a tool that helps the employees in their day to day engagement and guides them on or direct them how to interact with the customers of the company. Additionally, the code helps the employees and managers in making decisions that involve the affairs of the company. As a result, all the stakeholders of the company know, respect and oblige on what is expected of them and how to avoid infringing into others rights and freedom (LRNGlobal, 2007)
LRNGlobal. (2007). Strategies to promote ethical and legally compliant corporate cultures in multinational organizations. Retrieved from http://www. ethics. org/files/u5/LRNGlobalIntegrity. pdf