Should International Businesses Do "As the Romans Do When in Rome"

1541 Words Oct 15th, 2010 7 Pages
Multinational companies face many challenges in their international business dealings due to the environments they operate in which are commonly less regulated, are not democratically governed with legal systems to solve ethical and social responsibility dilemmas and are full of corruption. Managers are consequently faced with many unfamiliar economic conditions, cultural values and competitive variables (Grace and Cohen, 2000:180).

Wild, Wild & Han (2010:128) define ethical behaviour as personal behaviour, which is in accordance with guidelines for good conduct or morality, and corporate social responsibility as the act of companies going above and beyond their legal obligations in order to maintain their commitments to their
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This however is not so cut and dry and becomes difficult as the host country’s level of economic development is often the determining factor for the emphasis and level of education which is seen to be sufficient for the children of that country (Kolk and Tulder, 2010:50).

The main issue surrounding child labour is the minimum age requirement, which of course varies greatly between countries. The majority of multinational companies adhere to the minimum age requirement of the host country instead of their own home country, which of course enables a greater amount of freedom (Kolk and Tulder, 2010).

Sara Lee, however is an example of a multinational company who acknowledges the varying stipulated minimum age requirement in different countries, however adheres to its home country’s rule of not knowingly employing children under the age of 15. Companies who adopt their host country’s age specificity adhere to what is called a multidomestic ethical strategy. Should this universal approach to ethics apply to all areas of international business or would completely abolishing the multidomestic ethical strategy approach be to the detriment of the host country’s economy? The outcome of abolishing the multidomestic ethical strategy could include the
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