Essay Example on Adhering to Professional Ethics: A Necessity for All

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1806 Words
Date:  2023-04-05


Every profession, industry or line of work has unique codes of conduct that can be either written or unwritten, and everyone must adhere to them. These special codes of conduct are known as ethics. The term ethics refers to all concepts of moral wrong and right and moral bad and good. Ethical issues are a code or system of moral values, rules, and principles. Ethical matters are closely connected to particular cultures, religions, professions or any group that is partly governed by its moral outlook. Ethics is just another term used to refer to morality and the two conditions can now be used interchangeably in different contexts (Sidgwick 2019). Since ethical issues organizational to cultures, professions and religions, different individuals follow different codes of conduct respective of their culture, religion or occupation. No one document contains all the ethical codes that should be followed by every individual globally. This is because different individuals will act differently when posed with the same situation as a result of their different cultures, religions and professions. Past experiences or situations may sometimes influence ethical decisions.

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Culture and Ethics

In business, focusing solely on the basics paves the way for success, even in the most competitive markets. Serious problems may, however, materialize in business practice, and the challenge lies in more complex issues than product, place, promotion, and price. Since the markets have transitioned from domestic-focused to worldwide operations, other factors such as culture are critical to success (Karaibrahimoglu and Cangarli 2016). The expectations within cultures and culture itself affect every business dealing either positively or negatively. It is essential for marketers across the world to clearly understand the cultural expectations of other marketers from the other side of the world. Since time immemorial, the inability or failure to follow fundamental cultural factors never leads to success.

Culture is among the significant factors that affect business ethics. Different cultures follow different codes of conduct, and this accurately connects culture to ethics. Ethics can, therefore, be defined as the codes of conduct identified concerning a specific form of actions or a particular culture or group. Primary cultural norms and values are directly transmitted from one culture member to the other through parenting and socialization, religion and education. There exist several other secondary factors that influence ethics and ethical behavior. These factors include differences in systemic laws across countries, organizational culture, accepted systems for managing human resources as well as codes of conduct and professional cultures.

When faced with a cross-cultural ethical matter, the main objective is not to identify which behaviors are ethical and which are not. The accepted code of conduct is first to learn and understand the cultural differences and come up with an effective way of managing them. Different practices might be ethical in one region and be unethical in other areas. Various individuals from varying cultures might view certain practices with distinct levels of condemnation (Pucetaite 2016). Managers involved in cross-cultural transactions are often faced by problems caused by different cultural and ethical differences. How to manage and anticipate these moral behavior differences which are closely connected to cultural differences is the main challenge.

Ethical Behavior Across Cultures

Business culture is developed from conventional and time-tested practices. A country's business culture is molded by ways of thinking and business practices over a very long period lasting hundreds or thousands of years. As a result of differences in history, the United States of America and China have distinct business cultures. After the Chinese implemented policies of economic liberation back in 1978, multinational corporations from the Untired States have considerably increased their operations in China through establishing subsidiaries, joint ventures, and setting up offices. With the rising partnership between the two countries, executives from both regions need to learn and understand their counterparts' business culture and codes of conduct (Chen Chao and Xie 2017). An example of cultural differences between the two nations is a perfect explanation of how culture affects ethics and codes of conduct. People from China are always diligent in what they do and are satisfied with people like them. On matters of religion, Chinese people believe in sages rather than one God. This is the complete opposite of the Americans who are inclined to one God and the need for organized religion in the nation. When it comes to making ethical decisions, what one God condemns in China might be acceptable in the United States, and this can significantly affect decision making. A clear understanding of the counterparts' business culture and acceptable ethical codes is vital to the success of these corporations.

Cultural Conflict

Media and more so, newspapers cover stories that highlight both local and international unethical behavior of top company officials. Such actions include bribery, consciously selling defective products, illegal campaign contributions, hiding crucial information, among other immoral acts. These stories represent organizational or individual misconduct, clearly confirming that there was an ethical framework that needed to be followed but someone decided not to. These kinds of issues entail that varying business practices and ethical standards have come together in a business transaction. Such situations arise as a result of cultural conflicts (Peng 2019).

Anywhere in this world, ethical differences can easily lead to varying business practices (Howard 2020). An act enacted in the United States, "The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act," is the primary source of an in-depth comparison. Companies from the United States who have overseas operations are prohibited by the act to engage in any activity that is considered illegal back in the USA. For instance, offering a bribe to acquire a business is strictly prohibited for a US corporation, no matter which part of the world it takes place. Company officials can face hefty fines and jail terms if caught with this offense. In some nations, bribes are part of the life fabric, and no single business transaction can be done without them. Companies face failure and frustration when they do not know who to bribe to smoothen the process. If a company from the United States resorts to bribery, a lot of pressure is experienced in efforts of trying to hide the act, which includes masking the malice in the company's financial statements. On the other hand, other states have a more pragmatic or tolerant view of bribes. The challenges brought about by cultural differences can even be more significant when considering nations that have a different cultural heritage.

Cross-Cultural Management

In the world we are living today, the workforce is globalized, and different firms have employees from different countries, continents, offices, and time zones. Due to the free movement of labor across regions, cultural diversity has become a vital component in our workplaces. Therefore, it is difficult to manage a team today than it was in the past times due to the presence of individuals who do not share a common cultural heritage. It is, therefore, crucial to understand the challenges that come with differences in culture among workers and how to address these problems.

Challenges Associated with a Cross-Cultural Team

The world has turned to a global village, and managing employees from distinct cultural backgrounds are becoming common. Nevertheless, such teams bring about a ton of challenges that must be addressed. These problems include:

Trust Deficiency. In a workplace where a team is made up of individuals from different cultural backgrounds and nationalities, members have little or no trust for their colleagues. Lack of trust among team members is a vital issue that is likely to hinder the achievement of set objectives and long term goals. Developing a united and cohesive team is a laborious task for the group leader since the team members have no trust over each other (Ramsey and Lorenz 2016). For instance, an American team leader may find it difficult to trust a Russian subordinate who always speak Russian. Lack of trust is the major issue that cross-cultural teams face.

Perception. This is another challenge that faces cross-cultural teams. For instance, the majority of workers from developed countries perceive employees from less developed or developed countries as inferior. Perception is an issue that establishes division among team members because some workers view themselves as more important than others (Ramsey and Lorenz 2016). Perception also makes workers dishonor the values and norms of other team members, and this can lead to violence in a company.

Inaccurate Biases. Every individual tends to hold one or more forms of cultural prejudice against people from a specific region. The reputation of some team members is tarnished every time an inaccurate preference comes out. For instance, Indians are widely regarded as people who never deliver in time. Such kind of prejudice can adversely affect the morale of all Indian employees in a firm.

Strategies to Effective Cross-Cultural Management

The component of cross-cultural team management is becoming vital to develop and maintain since they lead to creative and innovative business ideas. If cross-cultural teams are not effectively managed; however, they can result in frustration and confusion due to the challenges these teams face. Strategies to mitigate these challenges include:

Definition of Team Language. Leaders, such as project managers, must decide the language to be used by every team member for communication. The default tongue should be used for interactions among team members as well as for documentation (Godiwalla 2019). The presence of a standard dialect among teammates will help in reducing trust deficiency.

Adoption of Written Communication. Written documents allow recipients to decode the information at their own pace. It also enables the recipient to carefully translate the written language to their native language, which enhances deeper understanding.

Avoid Use of Prejudice among team members. Negative prejudices hold a considerable effect of destroying the morale of the biased members, causing disunity in the team as a result (Godiwalla 2019). The development of ethical codes among teammates can be used to reduce the manifestation of prejudice.

All Tasks Should be assigned through consideration of competencies and skills to prevent some workers from feeling as more important than others. A straightforward and clear language should also be used for clear instructions among team members.

Issues of Leading Across Cultures

Even if organizations or businesses have no international operations, it is a challenge to locate a workforce who share the same cultural heritage. Cultural disparities affect everything from safety procedures, health, and interpersonal communication. Every aspect of any business transaction is impacted by culture in one way or the other. In today's market, leaders ought to be ready to manage and lead people of distinct cultures. They need to listen to people's opinions and voices and have a clear understanding of precisely what is being said to them. When people perceive and judge their leaders in diverse ways, the ears of the leaders may be filled with misunderstood interpretations. Among other issues that leaders might come across while leading cross-cultural teams is the misinterpretation of their leadership cultures. A leader might prefer flexibility...

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