Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Ethics, Corporation, Company, Mission, Organization, Business, Commerce, Entrepreneurship

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/12/22


In her article, ‘Unmasking the Myths: Learning to Navigate the Rough Seas of Ethics, Sophia Kusyk has articulated the myths that corporations perpetuate when engaging in trade and commerce across cultures. There is a blurring of the difference between the necessity of having the correct etiquette in a foreign culture as opposed to pursuing the correct ethics. Cultural relativism and individual subjectivism give rise to the notion that cultural tolerance is of greater import than doing the right thing. The final myth enumerated is that businesses exist merely to extract profit for their shareholders. Kusyk has recommended that corporates employ instruments such as mission and value statements, codes of conduct, ethics training programs, ethics committees, board appointments, certifications, confidential processes for whistle-blowing and transparency measures to align themselves with the stated UN Compacts published to inculcate corporate ethics in a globalized world (Kusyk, 2010).

Mission and Value Statements

The mission statement of an organization communicates the organization’s reasons to exist, and how it aims to serve its key shareholders. A vision statement elaborates on the mission and provides a future-oriented declaration of the organization’s purpose and aspirations. Values are the beliefs of the organization, and value statements reaffirm or state outright the organization’s values that might not be evident in the mission or vision statements (Carpenter, Bauer & Erdogan, 2010).
A corporation may use the mission statement to clearly identify its stakeholders as not only its immediate shareholders but also the broader ecosystems of the communities in which it operates and serves. Having identified the communities as stakeholders, it would be logical for the corporation to bust the myth that profits are the sole reason for existence of the company. Identifying the broader community as a stakeholder would automatically result in enumerating a vision in which the corporation works for the overall upliftment of the community. A modicum of corporate social responsibility would thus be built into the mission and vision statements. In turn, the values espoused would clarify the ethical stand of the corporation.

Ethics Training

Organizations need to ensure that all employees are in sync with the organizational mission and value statements. The need to act ethically in cross-cultural settings needs to be emphasized. In an ideal world, the conscience of each employee would generate ethical behavior in the organization. However, difficult choices due to competition and daily decision-making may propel employees to take unethical decisions. Child labor may be accepted with the logic that the only other option for the society would be starvation or prostitution. Such extreme generalizations hide within themselves the fact that the employees do not have the requisite training to deal with complex ethical questions. Ethical training would help to absolve the corporation from legal liability in the case of a breach in ethics. More importantly, such training would go a long way in instilling a positive ethical climate. The ethical training should encourage the use of moral judgment and not only stress on following laid down rules. The training should serve to analyze, interpret and determine the consequences and benefits of ethical actions (Odom, Ferguson, Golightly-Jenkins & Alarcon, 2003).
Ethical training would help the employees to appreciate the concepts of human rights, anti-corruption, anti-forced labor and environmental considerations enshrined in the UN Global Compact, and help in arresting cross cultural ethical fault lines.

Confidential Processes for Whistle Blowing

While a corporation may have clearly enumerated its mission and values regarding ethical actions to be taken in all situations, including in cross-cultural frameworks, there may be situations when its employees resort to taking short cuts for short-term gains. Such short cuts would invariably infringe ethical actions. Officials may resort to bribery to gain contracts and thus obtain promotions. Such activities would be best arrested if the corporation clearly announces processes for whistleblowing, enabling honest employees to report against wrongdoing of peers and superiors. The whistle-blowing policy would need to clearly identify all players who would be covered under the policy, including employees and external parties with whom the organization does business. There should be non-retaliation provisions to dispel fears of victimization. The confidentiality of the whistleblowers would need to be maintained. Compliance officers would need to be earmarked to receive claims by whistleblowers (Eaton & Akers, 2007).
If organizations develop robust internal processes to develop a culture of whistle-blowing, the whistleblowers would act as a natural check and balance against individuals being tempted to exploit foreign cultures for short-term gains.

Support for UN Global Compact Principles

All the instruments described above would ensure that the global corporation remains within the boundaries of the UN Global Compact principles. The company’s mission and value statements would buttress the respect for human rights worldwide. Corruption would be in check with the statement of values and due processes in place for whistleblowers to alert the organization on cases of wrongdoing. The Mission and values statements would also ensure that exploitation of labor is avoided and the environment is respected. Company wide ethics training would ensure that all employees are in sync with that the organization stands for.


The instruments adopted by corporations to support the cause of ethics in a cross-cultural environment are not mutually exclusive in application. Each instrument is a corollary of the other and complements the overall aim of instilling corporate ethics. Thus, mission and values would only be effective if employees are trained to appreciate the ethical goals and values enshrined by the corporation. Similarly, a delineated process to handle whistleblowers would strengthen the internal ethical processes of the organization, ultimately helping it to follow the UN Global Compact for ethical conduct.


Carpenter, M., Bauer, T., & Erdogan, B. (2010). The roles of mission, vision and values. In The Principles of Management. New York, NY: Flat World Knowledge Inc. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/bookhub/5?e=carpenter-ch04_s01
Eaton, T.V., & Akers, M.D. (2007). Whistleblowing and good governance. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2007/607/essentials/p58.htm
Kusyk, S. (2010). Unmasking the myths: Learning to navigate the rough seas of ethics. IESE Insight, Second Quarter 2010, Issue 5: 31-37.
Odom, L., Ferguson, R., Golightly-Jenkins, C., & Alarcon, R. (2003). Ethics training: impact on corporate liability. Kravis Leadership Institute Leadership Review, Summer 2003. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from http://www.leadershipreview.org/2003summer/article1_summer_2003.asp

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