Learning Activity #1Show Me the Regulation?There are at least two different positions taken on the question of whether government regulation or laws can facilitate ethical behavior. Some take the position that you cannot trust businesses on their own to do what is ethical; therefore, some government intervention in the form of laws and regulations is necessary. On the other hand, some argue that overreaching laws and regulations do not facilitate ethical behavior, and indeed might have the opposite effect. What do you think about the debate and what is your position? Why do you believe your position is sustainable or defensible? Learning Activity #2When in MalaysiaW.B. Milestone, Inc., a manufacturer of sophisticated computer parts, recently moved the operations of one of its divisions to Malaysia. The Company has hired several hundred workers at wages considerably below their U.S. counterparts, but consistent with the prevailing wages in Malaysia. Not only is the Company benefiting from the lower wages, it is also able to reduce its costs further because of the deplorable factories used for its operations (no air conditioning and poor ventilation), it can dispose of waste without any government oversight, and government inspectors are routinely given gratuities for favorable inspection reports or to otherwise grease the skids for the Company. The Companys operations are in all key respects in accordance with the laws of Malaysia.You were recently hired as a senior vice-president in charge of the Malaysian operations and you are concerned about what you have seen and heard as to how the plants are being operated. When you called a colleague in the states, he said to you keep your mouth shut and when in Rome do as the Romans do. What are some of the ethical issues you should consider in charting your course of action and how would you resolve them?
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Review Weekly Learning Activities/Participation and related topics, and the Learning
Activities – and Support What You Write in preparing your responses.
Learning Activity #1
Show Me the Regulation?
There are at least two different positions taken on the question of whether
government regulation or laws can facilitate ethical behavior. Some take the
position that you cannot trust businesses on their own to do what is ethical;
therefore, some government intervention in the form of laws and regulations is
necessary. On the other hand, some argue that overreaching laws and regulations
do not facilitate ethical behavior, and indeed might have the opposite effect. What
do you think about the debate and what is your position? Why do you believe your
position is sustainable or defensible?
Learning Activity #2
When in Malaysia
W.B. Milestone, Inc., a manufacturer of sophisticated computer parts, recently moved
the operations of one of its divisions to Malaysia. The Company has hired several
hundred workers at wages considerably below their U.S. counterparts, but consistent
with the prevailing wages in Malaysia. Not only is the Company benefiting from the
lower wages, it is also able to reduce its costs further because of the deplorable
factories used for its operations (no air conditioning and poor ventilation), it can
dispose of waste without any government oversight, and government inspectors are
routinely given gratuities for favorable inspection reports or to otherwise grease the
skids for the Company. The Companys operations are in all key respects in
accordance with the laws of Malaysia.
You were recently hired as a senior vice-president in charge of the Malaysian
operations and you are concerned about what you have seen and heard as to how
the plants are being operated. When you called a colleague in the states, he said to
you keep your mouth shut and when in Rome do as the Romans do. What are
some of the ethical issues you should consider in charting your course of action and
how would you resolve them?
IMPORTANT NOTE 6 : Global Ethics – Part 1
“To me, it really seems visible today that ethics is not something exterior to the
economy, which as technical matter, could function on its own; rather, ethics is an
interior principle of the economy itself, which cannot function if it does not take
account of the human values of solidarity and reciprocal responsibility.”
Pope Benedict XVI
In this week we explore the future of ethical business as a direct result of
globalization. We examine the economic climate and the distribution of wealth and
notion of distributive justice. We ask the ethical question: Do businesses that own 83%
of the wealth have a moral obligation to spread the wealth around? The sub-theme is
whether it is governments role alone or through regulation of business to make the
distribution less disparate.
Theme 1: The Effects of Globalization: The Role of Business in the Distribution
of Wealth and Resources
The effects of globalization have created an increasingly disparate division between
the distributions of wealth in the world. The ownership of land, industry and natural
resources is in the hands of large multinational corporations and the wealth of the
world is in the hands of a few. The problem of justice and economic distribution,
sometimes called distributive justice is a question that faces the globe. Main
questions include: What is fair and just in the distribution of the costs and rewards of
an economic system? What different principles of distribution can be used, and what
are the consequences of each different scheme or principle? Should some versions
of laissezfaire be adopted, or should communitarian/socialist scheme be
used? (Helpful principles to discuss, Utilitarianism, John Rawls Theory of Justice,
Robert Noziacks libertarianism, Adam Smiths invisible hand, Marxist (secular) or
Christian, Jewish, Islamic socialism).
Global Wealth Report 2017: Where Are We Ten Years after the Crisis?
What Companies Control Everything?
10 Countries with the Most Natural Resources
The Ethics of Redistribution.
The Ethics of Wealth Poverty and Inequality
The Effects of Globalization on Stakeholder Theory (
Business Ethics as Competitive Advantage for Companies in the Globalization Era
Subtheme: Should there be government regulation in this area and if so, how much
Role of government in Regulating Business Ethics
Compliance and Regulation: Johnson & Johnson
Business Ethics: The Law of Rules (https://sites.hks.harvard.edu/m-
Theme 2: The Effects of Globalization: Cultural Relativism and Morality
If you should be in Rome, live in the Roman manner; if you should be elsewhere, live
as they do there . St. Ambrose
Modern version of the quote: When in Rome do as the Romans do.
Continuing the theme of global ethical issues facing business in the 21st century is the
concern that different cultures have different values, norms, and morality. Can you
expect that your morals and values should be accepted by those businesses in
another country and vice versa? The corollary question is: Can I ignore the company
values and except those that are contrary to mine but acceptable in the host country?
Ethical Relativism (https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decisionmaking/ethical-relativism/)
Ethical Relativism and Business
Put Your Ethics To A Global Test (http://www.workforce.com/1996/01/01/put-yourethics-to-a-global-test/)
Integrity on a Global Scale (https://www.economist.com/node/1562708)
Our focus this week will be to expand the ethical issues businesses face domestically
to the international arena. When a company takes all or parts of its operations to
jurisdictions outside the U.S. (a transnational company), there are a number of ethical
issues that arise. Many of these issues result from the fact that different cultures and
customs are at play, different laws apply, ethical standards may be different, and
human rights issues often take center stage.
How does a company deal with this new environment of conditions, workers, and
foreign regulation while maintaining allegiance to its roots and ways of doing
business in the U.S.? One of your readings for the week, The Effects of
Globalization on Stakeholder Theory discusses some of the ethical issues for
companies operating abroad. Another aspect of the transnational experience revolves
around the interaction of the organization and its stakeholders, in particular its
When looking at globalization is the proper approach ethically, When in Rome do as
the Romans do even when such behavior is below standards under U.S. operations?
This relates to the concept of ethical relativism, which I will say more about in the
overview. The life of a transnational corporation from an ethical perspective is not
easy as you will see during our examination of these issues.
In considering the international implications, keep in mind that these are a reflection
of the ethical climate and culture within the corporation in the U.S. It is likely the case
that a company that is ethically challenged by the way it operates domestically, will in
all probability transfer such questionable tendencies to its foreign operations. A
company that does not value its employees at home will likely have less regard for its
foreign workers who do not enjoy the same protections as U.S. workers. As we have
previously noted, it is the leadership that sets the tone for this climate.
Not only should you be mindful of the difficulties transnationals face in operating in
different cultures, there is another theme I would like you to consider this week; and
that is the issue of global wealth and its concentration in the hands of a select few.
There are several readings for this week on this subject and I do not want you to get
bogged down with all of the statistics and charts, but I do want you to think broadly
about the fairness, justice, and overall ethics of this concentration. In particular, think
about whether questions of fairness dictate that there should be a redistribution of this
wealth? Do corporations have a moral responsibility to help redistribute the wealth of
the world (the so called notion of distributive justice)?
One of the many comments I have raised with you on the whistle-blowing and the
marketing interaction of businesses with certain consumer groups concerns whether
we need additional laws and whether such laws would facilitate the resolution of
specific ethical dilemmas. As you do your readings, compare the views of the author
in Ethics Without Regulation Wont Cut It, http://blogs.reuters.com/greatdebate/2009/01/30/ethics-without-regulation-will-not-cut-it/, who takes the view that
one cannot trust businesses to act ethically on their own, with the authors of Role of
Government in Regulating Business Ethics and Business Ethics: The Law Of
Rules, who question the wisdom of far reaching laws and regulations as facilitators
of ethical behavior. Learning Activity # 1 (Show Me the Regulation?) asks you to
weigh in on this debate by responding to the general question, do laws make things
Lastly, this week we examine the concept of ethical relativism. Simply stated ethical
relativism is a theory which looks to the mores and values of a given society in
judging whether the conduct at issue is ethical. This gets back to the old adage When
in Rome do as the Romans do and there are several readings for the week which look
at the pros and cons of the theory.
One of the glaring issues with the theory is raised when certain conduct, based on the
values of the society, is ethical but repugnant to how one in general would view the
conduct. For example, many would view the practice of slavery as ethically deficient
even if it is condoned by a society and is a part of its values and culture. The ethical
relativist would in effect say, butt out to those questioning the ethics of slavery in such
In keeping with our examination of ethical relativism, Learning Activity # 2 (When in
Malaysia) asks you to consider through the eyes of a senior manager some of the
ethical issues faced by a company that recently relocated to Malaysia.
There are several required readings for this week.
key elements important for grading
The first element of the grading rubric requires students to thoroughly answer the learning
activities provided. You are expected to answer all parts of the learning activities and what
you present must be supported with the course readings and research (if applicable) that you
When you support your ideas, reasoning or conclusion, you will need to cite the source
document. Supporting ideas may require you to use facts from a scenario that is presented.
One or two in-text citations for one learning activity probably will be insufficient.
The goal is to demonstrate your understanding of the course readings so be prepared to
demonstrate a prolific use of the course readings, which means that more than one author or
article is used.
Personal experience is fine but be sure to relate to the course readings, which again requires
an in-text citation.
Responses to your classmates also requires use of the course readings and is graded using
the second element of the grading rubric.
If an agree statement is provided, the grade for that post is a zero.
Note that when given instruction to respond to at least: two classmates per learning activity,
two responses represents a C grade for Frequency on the participation grading rubric. To
earn a higher score, you will need to provide additional responses.
Element Four: Writing is a competency of The Undergraduate School. You are also
expected to demonstrate good writing skills so make sure that what is presented is well
written and in complete sentences.
The last element of the grading rubric has been discussed above but note the requirement to
always cite and reference source material. Students are expected to paraphrase as the
learning activities are good practice for completing the major assignments in the course.
show critical thinking
You are encouraged to read the Learning Activities , and Learn How to
Support What You Write modules under Content in
preparing future responses.
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