Acting Globally

Multinational commerce requires fluency in more than one ethical system.

By Keld Jensen

“Relativity applies to physics, not ethics.” —Albert Einstein

It’s quite possible that when Einstein first made this statement he intended to refer only to personal ethics. At the time he said it, most people probably would have agreed that the principle applied to business as well. However, times have changed. As businesses operate in an increasingly globalized world, ethical conduct is certainly not an absolute standard.

In some cases, the parameters for making ethical decisions are simple. Business owners should not pocket cash from the register, practice tax evasion, or deceive customers by selling shoddy products. Business people should operate transparently and with complete integrity toward their employees, vendors, strategic partners, and customers.

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