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Cross Cultural Perspectives Essay

1225 words - 5 pages

Cross Cultural Perspectives

Most companies and other organizations that have operated primarily in the U.S. have an established code of ethics which they follow in order to ensure that they are conducting business in an ethical and socially responsible manner. American companies that exhibit unethical behavior, such as fraud and labor law violations can be subjected to an outside investigation and subsequent prosecution. In the United States, there are laws that govern such activities and are strictly enforced and prosecuted. In any country, culture is a driving force in what is considered ethical and unethical, and cultures differ between each country greatly. What is considered ...view middle of the document...

The company does not work very hard to hide its unethical ways when it was accused of avoiding taxes by moving intellectual property from the U.S. to a foreign tax shelter costing over 2 billion dollars in lost tax revenue. This was 2 billion dollars that the other U.S. tax payers had to make up for. Apple is considered by many as an unscrupulous greedy company that will stop at nothing to make a dime. It is also considered to be the most unethical American company because it takes all it can but gives back very little back to the people that are to thank for its existence. The ethical picture for Apple does not appear any prettier for the people working for their overseas operations located in china, such as in manufacturing. The company is a prime example that if a strong ethical code is not followed in the U.S., it certainly will not be followed across the ocean in another country.

Much of the manufacturing of Apple products is carried out in China, where the company uses primarily Chinese suppliers and contractors. Any American company that operates overseas is expected to follow the same code of ethics as it would back in the U.S., but at the same time, expected by the host country to abide by customs dictated by their culture. China has laws in effect that govern what would be considered unethical business behavior such as bribery, fraud, and inhumane labor practices, and the Chinese government enforces these laws and fines companies that are in violation, but these unethical practices are so engrained in the business culture in China, it is almost impossible for the government to keep up with the accusations of violations, not to mention the numerous cases that are never exposed due to fear of retaliation by workers from business owners. Unethical behavior such as bribery and fraud are considered unacceptable in American culture, and when a company begins business in a country such as China, where these practices are common place, the company will often choose to sacrifice its ethical standards. Apple realized when it began operating in China that in order to function successfully this new culture, it would need to play along with the established unethical practices that have been in effect for years.

One major illegal but culturally accepted practice in China is bribery. There are laws against the practice, but in order to compete with other businesses, bribery payments are often carried out then swept under the rug leading to an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. Because of this, “American businesspeople thus often feel that they are at a competitive disadvantage if they don’t make such payments, especially if competitors make them”...

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