Examples of hypernorms include: An obligation to respect the dignity of each human personCore human rights, such as personal freedom, physical security and well-being, the ownership of property, and so onEquity, the fair treatment of similarly situated personsAvoiding unnecessary injury to others (Murphy, et al., 2004)These hypernorms serve as a benchmark for the minimal ethical standards surpassing legal necessities alone. Where it is illegal to murder a person, a hypernorm would state that it is unethical to harm them at all.
Ethics come into play when an organization is deciding how to best serve their own needs while still fulfilling the obligations they owe to the stakeholders. Warren Keegan suggests that to serve the global community effectively, organizations “must practice corporate social responsibility,” defined as self-regulation to protect society (Keegan, 2013). The next step is to decide how to best address ethical issues which may arise in any facet of the business, from research to production to marketing and sales. After these determinations have been made, a company can begin to build a set code of ethics.
If these are established as the hypernorms for a research project, one must consider the implications of researching in other societies. Cultural shifts must be accommodated when creating a metric for ethical behavior and consideration for that culture’s hypernorms must be made. If, for example, an American company is doing business with a Laotian company and the manager learns that it is considered highly unethical in Laos to do research without explicit consent (while in America, they accept implicit consent), the American manager should find new research methods to abide this standard. By combining the theories of Rousseau and Donaldson, the manager should be able to find an ethical solution to his dilemma.
If a company has two factories, one in America, and one in Vietnam, they should be held to the same standard. While the two locations likely have different appeals to the company, either geographically or financially, the existence of a Vietnamese location should not serve only as a cost-cutting mechanism, but should also exist to better the lives of the workers. This form of corporate social responsibility would not only serve to further the economic goals of the corporation, but to also enhance the society around it by providing safe jobs to citizens in the area and by otherwise improving the area, thus serving all relevant stakeholders.
The company must make enough money to continue production. If this imperative is not met, not only will shareholders be at a loss, but so will employees and other businesses within the supply chain. Secondly, the company holds an ethical responsibility to the consumer. Not only is this in the interest of common human courtesy, but good treatment of consumers can save an otherwise mediocre company and poor treatment of customers can destroy an otherwise brilliant company. Treating the consumers fairly is the right thing to do by virtue, but the consequences otherwise are damning. Salespeople must consider the customs of the area to which they are selling to be successful. If it is a highly religious Christian area, not only will making calls on Sunday be unsuccessful, it will also be offensive. In some areas it would also be considered offensive to turn away a small gift, while in others it may be considered a bribe. Understanding the culture of the area is vital. Finally, the company should consider their responsibility to society. If a company is otherwise ethically perfect, but still dumps toxins in the river, they are harming the society as a whole. The consequences of a company’s actions must be considered as part of their ethical footing.
Both tests begin with the simple question, “is our action legal?” The important part is that neither stops at this minimum standard, however. The Texas Instruments method is not as thorough as the Laczniak Test, but serves as a good starting block as an ethical test. It can be easily modified to add other questions like “Does this action affect the environment adversely?” or “Is this practice beneficial for the local community?” The Laczniak Test is very thorough, covering multiple concerns, including legality, obligations, motives, and rights, among others. As it is very thorough it is better suited to large-impact decisions, but impractical for everyday decisions.
Social Contract Theory in a Global Marketing Context
IN A GLOBAL
Emily Rich – MKT 350 – Southern New Hampshire
International vs. Global Marketplace
“Markets do not exist in a state of nature. They are social constructs, with defined customs and
regulations that are established through political struggle and compromise…Until recently, the
politics of the global economy has been largely viewed as “international,” i.e., focussed on the
questions of “which nation gets what,” with the central conflict between countries that are rich and
poor…There is no political constitution to match the growing global market.” – Jeff Faux, October
Variations on Social Contract
The “natural state” for
man is one outside of
The social contract
begins when two (or
rights to one another.
“Obedience to a selfprescribed law is liberty” (de
la Parra, 2010).
Citizens must take action in
building the ruling
The “general will” occurs
when citizens work together
toward the good of the
Variations on Social Contract
Combined with the “general will,”
an “original contract” suggests
that consent to be governed and
the will of the sovereign is implicit
for all those in the society as they
created the governing body.
Suggests that no law may be
declared which, “a whole people
could not possibly give its
consent to” (Rousseau, qtd. in
Creates an “original position” and “veil of
ignorance” to create an objective vacuum
to which one may make an “impartial moral
judgment” (Murphy, et al., 2004).
Establishes the Liberty Principle and
Liberty Principle – each person must have a
same equal right to the “most extensive basic
liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others”
(Murphy, et al., 2004).
Difference Principle - suggests that “social and
economic equalities are to be arranged so that
they are to the greatest benefit of the most
disadvantaged” and that no actions should be
taken which would in any way harm those who
are disadvantaged (Murphy, et al., 2004).
Variations on Social Contract
Assumes men have no natural reason for
compromise other than for self-service.
Two distinctive contracts are
Assumes that when there are two parties, each
controlled by a third, they will each sell the other out in
attempt to reduce their own sentence.
Thomas Donaldson & Thomas
Instead, they should work together against the third to
reduce both sentences beneath the singular threshold.
An issue of rational compliance with accepted norms.
Solved by “minimax relative concession” – a theory
that should the concessions suffered by each party be
perceived as equal, they will both be able to most
effectively minimize concessions and maximize utility
1st – The global community should
work together to find a “rational
arrangement for ethics in economic
2nd - business groups or other entities
should have “moral free space” so
they may “keep their moral options
open until they confront the full context
and environment of a decision”
Universal norms used as a standard
for all other norms.
Delineation of Stakeholders
Primary stakeholders may include
stockholders, and managers of the
Secondary stakeholders include the
government, the company’s
competition, the community, media,
and society as a whole.
Issues in Research
The Three Norms of Western
The right of selfdetermination within the law
The obligation of a fiduciary
to protect the welfare of a
The fiduciary’s obligation to
be trustworthy for social
stability reasons (Smith, et
Issues in Production
must fulfill them in
Issues in Sales and Marketing
company must be profitable.
There is a responsibility held to the consumer of
Salespeople must be culturally aware.
The company must remember the responsibility
to society as a whole.
Solutions and Building an Ethical
A company should begin by establishing its own Code
After an ethical code is established, consideration
should be taken to determine a method to best create
mutual codes with business partners.
The business should never deal below their own
standard, though some consideration should be taken
toward cultural norms.
If the company has a policy against bribery, for example, they
should consider their stance regarding gifting in foreign areas.
Suggested Metrics for Ethical
Texas Instruments Method
Are we complying with all legal
requirements on a local level?
Are there business practices or
requirements at the local level which
impact how we interact with co-workers
in other parts of the world?
Do some of our practices need to be
adapted based on the local laws and
customs of a specific locale? On what
basis do we define our universal
standards that apply to TI employees
everywhere? (2008 Corporate
Does the contemplated action violate the law? (The legal test)
Is this action contrary to widely accepted moral obligations?
(The duties test)
Does the proposed action violate any other special obligations
that stem from this type of marketing organization? (The
special obligations test)
Is the intent of the contemplated action harmful? (The motives
Is it likely that any major damages to people or organizations
will result from the contemplated action? (The consequences
Does this action enhance the ideal of a moral community, and
is it consonant with what the marketing organization wants to
be? (The virtues test)
Does the contemplated action infringe upon property rights,
privacy rights, or the rights of the consumer? (The rights test)
Does the proposed action leave another person or group less
well off? Is this person or group already a member of a
relatively underprivileged class? (The justice test) (Murphy, et
By striking an ethical code with the other members, a
company may use a combination of all the previously
mentioned theories. The two (or more) members of
the agreement could work together to create a
mutually beneficial arrangement. It requires
Rousseau’s consent, Donaldson’s establishment of
norms, Kant’s general will, and Rawls’ liberty
principle, all under Gauthier’s presupposition that two
parties who work together will achieve the greatest
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