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Intercultural Management

By Author: sherry roberts
Total Articles: 573

Question 1
Social institutions and their basic forms affect how businesses operate. Every society has a unique social environment. While some of the practices and behaviors may be similar across societies, some are not (Cullen & Parboteeah, 2014). Some social institutions may cause complexities in different aspects of business operations such as marketing. International business has no control over social institutions. The best it can do is to adapt and utilize itself to the external environment, or it will not survive. It must be significantly aware of the society's social preferences of its needs and wants.
For multinational firms, social institutions cause considerable variation in operating practices across locations. And as firms push further with disparity across locations, complementary approaches such as indigenization of in-country management teams and decentralization of decision-making can support a firm’s ability to be responsive to local social institutions. This scenario may involve opening a subsidiary. However, opening a subsidiary may not produce desired impacts as the parent company might give up all of its prospective interactional synergies and performs poorly. Therefore, managers must find a way to manage adaptation to social institutions that may entail finding an alternative way to enter the market. Social institutions also dictate the legal structures or systems present in a country. Such may present an array of challenges for a subsidiary operating in such a country. If a firm can efficiently manage adaptations to the social institutions, it can achieve congruence where it will potentially operate. Where management views the social institution presents social challenges that may make it difficult to adapt, the management should reconsider the decision to open a subsidiary as it may be a source of disadvantage.
Question 2
The basis of ethical relativism is that differing historical traditions and customs, religious beliefs, behavioral norms and core values and beliefs across cultures and countries give rise to different sets of values concerning what is considered right or wrong (Cullen & Parboteeah, 2014). It means that whether particular business-related behaviors or actions are ethically right or wrong is dependent on the existing local ethical standards. Ethical relativism should be used where a business operates in different countries or cultures because it allows for the adaptation to existing ethical standards. Child labor is a good example. While the practice is ethically impermissible in one country, it may be ethically permissible in another country. It can also be used where ethics change over time that raises the issue of self-contradiction. For example, the practice of slavery was accepted some years ago but is no longer universally acceptable today.
Ethical universalism concept argues that there is a common agreement about what is right or wrong across countries and cultures. The commonality gives rise to universal moral standards that apply to all organizations, enterprises, and members of all societies. The concept should be employed where cultures have common ethical and custom standards. The approach is based on moral absolutism. It is a slippery slope for multination managers to resolve conflicting ethical standards when operating in different nations. Managers have to figure out how to navigate the gray zone that comes up when their organization operates in two or more cultures with differing ethical standards and customs. This may involve doing studying ethical standards that characterize different cultures in which the business operates. Every society has its ethical standards that businesses must adhere to.
Question 3
There are various basic principles of ethical business conduct adaptable when making ethical decisions. They are primarily based on deontological and Kantian ethics(Cullen & Parboteeah, 2014). They include doing no harm, loyalty, credibility, liability, charity, personal growth, and respect.
Do no harm
The key principle of business ethics requires a business to endeavor not to do harm to others. The principle serves as a guide in decision making. It is often used to determine acceptable risks versus safety. It requires the use of proper skills, knowledge, and abilities to guarantee safety in business premises, general environment and to all stakeholders.
Credibility
Businesses should be free of lies and manipulation. Businesses are currently operating in a difficult environment. Winning an economic profile is characterized by the struggle for values and creating a reputation.

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