Based on the case whereby religious people attempt to be ethical both at home and outside their home (e.g., very devout religious people).
Theory of Sacred Canopy:
In today’s materialistic, opportunistic and fast-paced lifestyle, it is a common belief that religious people have lost their influence on the direction of morals and ethics. This has meant that although people may be ethically astute at home, they may behave differently away from home.
Different cultures have different rules of conduct.
Some cultures view certain ethical practices with different levels of condemnation (Pitta et al ., 1999).
The more serious problem concerns two different ethical standards meeting in a business transaction.
US vs. Russian; US vs. Nigerian; US vs. Colombian; US vs. UK; US vs. Germany; Israel vs. Egypt.
This situation is characterized as cultural conflict.
Cultural conflicts and unethical behavior: bribery, corruption and sleaze
The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Bribery is part of life in some countries because of different ethical standards.
Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria have been mentioned in the popular press.
Also in the West: UK, USA, France, Japan.
“… with tobacco advertising banned in many Western countries, cigarette manufacturers are increasingly targeting countries in Africa…and more and more Africans are taking up the habit ” (BBC online News, 18 March 2005).
Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Kenya and Mauritius have introduced smoking bans and have increased taxes on tobacco sales.
In Ghana, the government’s “zero tolerance” for corruption is challenged because Ministers have still not declared their assets.
The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) is urging the government to implement the Public Procurement Act to enable it to subject ministers and public officials to greater degrees of scrutiny in the award of construction contracts ( www.graphicghana.info , March 18, 2005).
Shoddy construction works abound in Ghana and in Nigeria.
Discussion on bribery is problematic and controversial.
The case of Nigeria and Ghana where it is argued that the roots are embedded in colonialism, rather than the fact that these countries are relatively poor.
The German-based Transparency International Corruption Perception Index in 2002 (Africa) 101 20 Nigeria 62 8 Egypt 96 17 Kenya 59 7 Ethiopia 77 14 Zambia 52 6 Morocco 71 11 Tanzania 50 5 Ghana 71 11 Zimbabwe 36 3 Tunisia 71 11 Cote d’Ivoire 36 3 South Africa 68 10 Malawi 28 2 Namibia 66 9 Senegal 24 1 Botswana World Rank Africa Rank Countries World Rank Africa Rank Countries
Woman fetching water in a country in Africa: result of failed government and corrupt officials? Source: BBC Online
A teacher’s dilemma: results of corrupt policies and failed governments?
There is common agreement that a country’s culture is directly related to the ethical behavior of its managers. Two themes:
(1) Public or corporate statements and actions about ethical behavior.
(2) The collection of ethical attitudes and values in the country.
Interface of culture and business ethics: American Culture
Ethical roots date back to the founding fathers and their traditional Judeo-Christian and Western socio-theological laws and principles. The founding fathers were mostly Christians and identified three basic “self-evident” truths regarding “inalienable” rights of mankind to:
The pursuit of happiness;
and exercised in an environment in which people are equal under the law.
Culture and business ethics contd. (Saudi Arabia)
Two dimensions influence the business culture (a) Islam and (b) the Bedouin tradition.
The Bedouin tribal heritage views loyalty, justice, generosity and status as important.
Religion has a profound effect on business, politics and social behavior.
The “mutawwa” (The Saudi religious Police) is run by the Society for the Propagation of Good and Abolition of Evil ensure compliance (Rice, 2004).
English greetings (good morning etc.) and hand shakes are common.
In the Akan culture of Ghana, inheritance is via the maternal lineage rather than the paternal lineage (i.e., nephews inherit their uncles rather than sons inheriting their fathers).
Most greetings are in the dominant local language and are followed by questions about one’s health, family welfare, journey (these were found to be similar in Saudi Arabia and also in northern Nigeria).
Children refer to any adult that is well known to the family as “aunt” or “uncle” even when they are not related.
It is generally improper to pass or receive items with the left hand. Right hand or both hands are the norm.
Malaysian consumers were less sensitive to unethical marketing practices.
Malaysian consumers tend to be less idealistic and more relativistic in their moral philosophies than US consumers.
Relative to US consumers, Malaysian consumers reject moral rules (i.e., high relativism).
They are however positive about the possibility of achieving positive outcomes for everyone concerned.
Malaysian consumers were more likely to respond positively to collectivist (as opposed to individualistic) marketing strategies.
Research undertaken by Robinson (2004) in Journal of African Business
To examine how entrepreneurs experience and deal with ethical dilemmas in South Africa.
Results : Entrepreneurs forsake demeaning workplace and inter-personal practices, containing crime, adopting socially responsible and ethical business practices, appreciating ethnic differences and attempting to reconcile with each other.
Ethics is facing challenges in the context of: (a) Issues such as diversity, (b) overcoming the legacy of Apartheid, (c) crime containment, (d) business ethics, (e) reconciliation between different ethnic groups.
“… Apartheid may be officially dead and buried, but its legacy thrives in a clearly dichotomous society …” (Robinson, 2004).
A woman selling produce in Harare: Failed governments and corrupt officials?
Happy? about a newly installed pipe-borne water in a country in Africa
Africa is the only continent to have become poorer in the past 25 years.
By the year 2000, half of the world’s poor were in Africa compared with 10% in 1970 (BBC online News, March 18, 2005).
Is Africa “better in colonial times?” asks Moeletsi Mbeki
“… the average African is poorer than during the age of colonialism…in the 1960s African elites/rulers/politicians, instead of focusing on development, amassed enormous wealth, saving their loot in Western countries – Switzerland, UK, USA, France)…”
Customs, Courtesies of Ghanaians, http://www.graphicghana.info
Why do we still smoke in Africa? http://news.bbc.co.uk
Robinson, D. A. (2004), “Entrepreneurial Challenges in South Africa”, Journal of African Business, Vol.5(2), pp.173-185.
Hartman, L. P. (2002), Perspectives in Business Ethics (2 nd ed), McGraw-Hill, New York.
Gbadamosi, G. (2004), Ethics, Corruption and Economic prosperity in Africa: Botswana Experiences, Proceedings of the International Academy of Business & Development (IAABD), Atlanta, April 7-10, pp.204-213.
Bristol, T. and Mangleburg (2005), “Not Telling the whole Story: Teen Deception in Purchasing”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol.33, No.1, pp.79-95.
Rawwas, M. Y. A. (2005), Does Religion Matter? A Comparison Study of the Ethical Beliefs of Students of Religious and Secular Universities in Japan, Proceedings of the AMTP Conference, March 24-26, Jekyl Island, GA, pp.378.