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Free «Business Ethics across Cultures» Essay Sample


Business ethics is the behaviour that a business adheres to its everyday dealings with the world. When discussing one or another country around the world it is needed to take into consideration the fact that if the culture is different from the country you live in, the business and personal ethics will differ, as well. To understand this question better, it is needed to compare two countries, their traditions in culture and ethics, their similes and differences. These two countries for comparing are Canada and Spain.

The first article for review is called “Business and professional ethics in Canada” by Michael M. McDonald & Michael Davis. Canadian Business ethics is considered, by some scholars, as the most conspicuously at variance of the practice in other countries in such areas as the state of moral affairs, in boardrooms, and executive suites across the huge country. It is interesting that social activists are rather interested in different forms of natural harvesting in the country. It is also no exaggeration when mention the fact of investing by social activists more energy in stopping or modifying various commercial harvests in Canada than in any other country in the world. People who are opposing to such activities always reacted keenly on any events concerning them. Criticism mostly goes from Europe, especially from Greenpeace. There are rather successful campaigns against killing animals for fur. Canadians are criticized not only for this aspect. Rather great problem concerning business ethics in Canada is the lumber industry. It is the only industry which seemed rather unresponsive and insensitive to criticism. Nevertheless, Canadian business has a global presence recognised by many persons involved in stakeholder management as, having economical rewards to all parties, acknowledged, as being ethically, socially, and environmentally conscientious, appreciated by the communities in which Canada operates. There is some International Code of Ethics in Canada introduced in the article unveiled in September 1997, by several Canadian parties concerned with avoiding the crisis prospect, and some companies operating in politically stable regions.



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The Canadian ethics are built upon four aspects:

  • Vision. This aspect brings commercial benefits to involved businesses, as well as recognised ethics, environmental or social errands.
  • Beliefs. Canadian ethics have a lot of beliefs. They are not limited in their role of leadership, enduring all international agreements or any other treaties pertaining to them. Diversity is respected and followed in most of the countries, but Canadian business is done in its own manner. It is also important for Canada to do business in the manor enhancing the relations between the countries hosting them and themselves. It helps them in creating trusted and respectful relationship and, thus, bringing benefits of business cooperating with other countries.
  • Values. Canadians hold their values high to make Canada a good place. Some of them are rather useful and promissory, and are run by a free market economy, providing equality in opportunities for all participants. Such practice creates relations and constantly improves them, helps to supervise production for the entire community, and follows any sorts of ethical codes.
  • Principles. Canada relies upon principles based on community: participation / environmental problems, human rights, business activities, employee’s rights, and safety concerns.

Like acid rain, a lot of ethical problems do not stop in national boundaries. There are three factors affecting Canadian business and professional life. First, while having middle power in economical and political issues, Canada is rather affected by the USA. Second, it is a country with two languages and two founding people. Third, this country has an extremely complex governmental arrangement dividing power between provinces and the federal government, thus, making Canada one of the most decentralised countries in the world. All these obstacles could be fought by 4 C’s: Contact, Collaboration, Communication and Consultation (MacDonald, 1990)

Is the  same situation in Spain? Does a European country have more experience in business ethics? Let us see. To compare this two countries the article “European vs. American approaches to institutionalisation of business ethics: The Spanish case” from journal “Business ethics: a European review” was taken. Business ethics development in Spain began in sixteenth century. It was that time when the School of Salamanca formed. This school had some principles of business ethics, which are followed till nowadays:

  • Formation of Prices. That means price determination by the value of a product in the market.
  • Theory of Value. When supply falls down, the value would rise.
  • Quantity Theory of Money. Money supply provides positive relationship with value.
  • Theory of Interest. Product’s worth is determined by supply and demand.

Scholars also used their thoughts in market economy, including property (people’s right to own and benefit from their property), monopolies (scholars denied variants of monopolized companies), profit (profit should be a subject of product’s value), and free market (price in the market is determined by supply and demand).

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The ideas of Salamanca School were interpreted in nowadays’ business ethics. First, the price is required to sell commodities, nowadays. Second, worth of the subject is figured out of supply and demand. The third, time value of money is used for better comprehending the value of loaning money. Fourth, one can not only have a property, but also get benefit of it.

Not so long ago, Spanish companies have begun to institutionalise ethical aspects with the help of creating formal documentation and laying down corporate philosophies. A lot of companies, especially large ones, rely on ethics proclamations for defining and promotion of their corporate culture and identity. In Spain businesses there are all about social contacts. Spanish businessmen should be sure they know right people and use this knowledge wisely for their company to be run, using such contacts. Business relationships in Spain have tendency to be kept as long as it is possible. Spanish people prefer not to transfer over to new contracts.

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There is different situation in doing business by women in Canada and Spain. Spanish women first have to work their way to equality, and it is not still totally reached. Women in this country, like in many others, are considered to do some in home chores and raising the children. Equality is reached and based on the work they do and not on their gender. In Canada, the situation is a little different. It could be explained by the fact of the USA influence. Women have reached rather great sense of equality in doing business. And it is greater possibility to meet a Canadian woman having a higher ranking than a Spanish one.

It is also important to mention different basements for doing business in North America and in Continental Europe. While Canadian approach is founded on reaction to business scandals, it is also based on the idea of “good business” and “good ethics”, which are going hand to hand. On the contrary, in Spain the system relies on business ethics set up the barriers, and even the “economization” of society and the need to humanize business cannot give a breach to such situation.

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Business culture is formed from time-tested and conventional practices. Business practices in Canada and Spain are different in some parts, but there is some simile between them. Despite the fact, business ethics in Spain is formed rather earlier than in Canada, Canadian businessmen reached more success. It is explained by the fact of Cooperation of all the spheres and aspects important for doing business. The fact that women are definitely good in business is still taken suspiciously in Spain, while in Canada women have pleasure and benefits. For example, if compare these two countries with Ukraine, we can see European practices and, thus, Spanish ones in making business. The fact of living more than a million Ukrainians in Canada makes possible cooperation and interrelation of Canadian and Ukrainian practices. Unfortunately, Ukrainian mentality does not allow business to act openly and wisely for being open to international advancement and recognition. In this part of business ethics, Canadians have great success.

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Business ethics nowadays have great influence on doing business. If it is taken right and people are trying to develop business situation, it is easier to gain success not only in business affairs, but also in relationships between colleagues, partners, and thus with the whole international business society.


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