Essay on Global ethics and labor standards

Briscoe & Schuler (2004, p. 174) argue that practices of multinational organizations when they conduct business outside their countries of origin are watched out by the media and the public organizations and often cause serious public concern in the local communities.

It is obvious there are some common human values and ethical standards that may be defined that are applicable worldwide, but there are also certain specific details and sometimes even considerable variance of the ethical climate between different countries. For example, such things as bribery, gifts or favors, tax evasion, or child labor may be perceived differently in different country. (Tayeb,2005)

HR manager should be very careful in applying of the ethical standards to the local market, because the dramatic example suggested by Briscoe & Schuler (2004, p. 176) describes the situation when ”˜manager of a large US company operating in China who fired an employee caught stealing and turned him over to local authorities, according to company policy. But the manager was absolutely horrified to learn that the employee had been summarily executed. The Chinese culture, such acts seen as important enough to “turn in” the employee, are clearly viewed with a much greater degree of finality.’ (Briscoe & Schuler, 2004, p. 176)  So the cultural context, global ethics and labor standards have to be formulated based on the local cultural context.

In accordance to Briscoe & Schuler (2004, pp. 174-175), international governing bodies increasingly raise questions about the “ethical” nature of business practices of many MNEs, often particularly as they relate to employment-related practices. (Briscoe & Schuler, 2004, pp 174-175)

Additionally, these organizations that look for international business opportunities should realize that they may be criticized for or even ”˜charged with exploitation and being the cause of increasing inequities in the countries in which they do business, particularly in the less developed countries.’ (Briscoe & Schuler, 2004, pp 174)

Business rules, ethics, and HR policies and practices may be easily confused in the context of international business and it may have tragic and costly results for organization that was unable to adapt them appropriately to the local rules. Therefore establishment of the high ethical standards in the organization is an important condition.  The ethical principles of behavior may be fixed in the organizational codes of ethics that describe moral aspects of companies’ organizational cultures and ethical values. Ethic may be corporate (the ethics of the whole company) and individual (the ethics of the individual employee), but it influences all processes in organization and also it has a great impact on its achievements. HR professionals have to consider ethical issues of their everyday business activity and find new ways of resolving the conflicts, including cultural, encountered by them at their work places. The appliance of the ethics and cultural sensitivity in business means that first of all we need to be able to moral values more carefully and to understand more fully the reasons that underlie,  develop capacity for moral reasoning by learning to sort out all of the arguments that bear upon moral problems and apply them to concrete work situations.


A conclusion could be made that the international human resource management (IHRM) is an important element of strategic management of any organization. It is known that HR managers employed by multinational corporations often experience difficulties or face with complex challenges, because workforces are spread across countries, cultures and political systems and thus different approach is required, including different cultural approach.

First of all, HR professional needs to analyze the environment the company operates in and take advantage of this knowledge. In order to provide the effective HH policy and rely on it, the company which deals with different cultures and nations should check both local environment in specific countries and global trends.

Another crucial element is culture of the country the organization operates in which refers to the learned behaviors, values, norms, and symbols that are passed from generation to generation within a society. People learn what is appropriate and acceptable within their own culture and may come to view their way of doing things as the only correct way. This means that HR professionals should be aware of the importance of culture. Such awareness is a necessity for those specialists whose job is to deal with people from different cultural backgrounds.

Nowadays the recognition of the necessity of cross-cultural competence is expected to grow. Cultural competence significantly depends upon continuing self-assessment of culture, acceptance and respect for difference, vigilance toward the dynamics of differences, and constant expansion of cultural knowledge and resources. In brief, cross-cultural competence requires constant learning.

Cultural values influence employee perceptions of the environment, expectations, and individual behavior. If people have different assumptions, then they will see events and react to them differently. People from different cultures approach problems differently and have different ways to resolve and apply solutions to problems.

Other aspects that were reviewed in the present paper and that are vitally important for efficient international HRM practice are the motivation, communication and other employment-related practices, such as business ethics which is also closely related to the cultural context.

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