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Ethics and International Affairs - Case Study Example

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The paper presents multinational corporations, or businesses operating in foreign countries, that becomes a focus of analysis by academic professionals who study the moral and ethical obligations of businesses to the society. There are several moral dilemmas that surround business practices…
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Ethics and International Affairs
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Download file to see previous pages It's mentioned that a field of business ethics has been developed wherein the moral or ethical obligations of businesses and the ethics of global business activities are integral. This field has been named international corporate responsibility (ICR) (Brenkert & Beauchamp, 2009). ICR examines whether global business practices have been mindful of and have respected the rights and wellbeing of various stakeholders, and their obligations to them. Issues that ICR may focus on include whether MNCs or global businesses have carefully scrutinized their labor practices, valued fundamental human rights, and respected the interests and rights of local communities (Sullivan, 2003). This essay tries to answer the question, are businesses morally or ethically obligated to uphold human rights and labor practices in foreign countries? Ethical issues are at the heart of disagreements and conflicts about global labor practices and human rights. Several advocates accuse multinational businesses of unfair and inhumane treatment of employees in foreign countries. Economists answered that gratifying these advocates’ demands will lead to the lower employment rate in developing countries, thus weakening social welfare (Cahn & Holeman, 1999). Therefore, in order to accurately determine the merits and flaws of these opposing arguments, it is important to analyze the moral or ethical obligations of businesses with regard to human rights and global labor practices. Human rights, which is a set of ethical guidelines, is a major attribute of current public dialogue, particularly as it relates to global issues. The proclamation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, alongside the support of agencies like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, has resulted in a worldwide recognition of human rights as an integral instrument of moral assessment by people of broadly differing religious and political values (Hartman, Arnold, & Wokutch, 2003). The principle of human rights is now an important aspect of discussions concerning international labor practices. Moral principle, or ethics, denotes what is right. Issues regarding integrity, justice, and respect occur often in people’s personal and professional lives. Nevertheless, the responsibilities of a business are markedly different from the obligations of an individual. For instance, a business has an obligation to its shareholders. Particularly, the specific ethical responsibilities of businesses are based on the specific functions managers serve in business organizations. Peter Drucker presents a concise description of the functions of managers today (Hartman et al., 2003, 78): When I first began to study management, during and immediately after World War II, a manager was defined as “someone who is responsible for the work of subordinates.” A manager, in other words, was a “boss,” and management was rank and power. This is probably still the definition a good many people have in mind when they speak of “managers” and “management.” But by the early 1950s, the definition of a manager had already changed to one who “is responsible for the performance of people.” Today, we know that is also too narrow a definition. The right definition of a manager is one who “is responsible for the application and performance of knowledge.” In each of these functions, managers have specific responsibilities. As much as they benefit from authority and influence within the organization, managers exercise considerable authority over corporate practices and processes; the higher the position of the manager the larger the authority to bring about favorable, or unfavorable, ethical transformation. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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