The Ethics of Doing Business Internationally, Essay Example

Doing business internationally requires businesses to learn and understand the laws and ethical standards of foreign countries. Every country has its own set of ethical standards, and there is no international organization that oversees ethical issues related to business (Scevola, 2014). Governments of different countries have developed trade agreements and frameworks for cooperation. The European Union is an example of this sort of framework. This kind of framework can help set standards or expectations for ethical business behavior.  However, when the nations of the EU do business with nations outside of the EU, they must still deal with the ethical standards of those other nations. This shows how even with some international cooperation there are still ethical challenges for doping business internationally, especially in the age of globalization.

Problems can arise for businesses when the ethical standards of a foreign nation where they do business conflict with the ethical standards of the organization. Businesses must develop their own ethical standards, but to do business internationally they must sometimes be flexible. In India, for example, where the economy has grown significantly in the past few decades, corruption is seen as part of doing business (knowledge@wharton, 2012). It may be expected that a business will provide bribes or payoffs to private individuals or even government agencies to help make deals happen. This may conflict with the internal ethics of a foreign business that wants to operate in India, so the business has to decide if the trade off with its own ethics is worth while. Similar situations can be seen in other emerging economies and developing nations, such as in China and the developing nations of Africa (Scevola, 2014; Rossouw, 2014). Businesses must have strong ethical codes, but must also realize that they can not impose their own standards on business in foreign countries.


Knowledge@Wharton,. (2012). Business vs. Ethics: The India Tradeoff? – Knowledge@Wharton. Retrieved 24 July 2014, from

Rossouw, G. (2014). Business Ethics and Corporate Governance in Africa. international business ethics review.

Scevola, C. (2014). The Role of Ethics in International Business – Retrieved 24 July 2014, from

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